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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wile E. Empire

- Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig wants to know more about future Yankees Boss Steve Swindal's involvement with Excelsior Racing. Swindal is hoping that he'll be "grandfathered" in given George Steinbrenner's long involvement in the sport as an owner and breeder. Of course, that association has not involved slot machines. Selig told the NY Post: "There is a lot of history there, but it really depends on the details and I don't want to comment until I see the details."

And yes, one day there will actually be a racino at Aqueduct, and MGM Mirage says that it can indeed have it up and running before NYRA's franchise expires. In a statement that was little more than a warning to the state, Excelsior, and Empire that its contract to build and operate the casino is immune to a change in racing operators, the company said it could have it operational during the "latter part" of 2007, and would thereby generate some $500 million in incremental revenue to the state of New York over and above the franchise bid payments. [Bloodhorse]

The contract was agreed to with MGM on a no-bid basis, which the state comptroller's office basically said was improper, but that there was nothing they could do about it. One can certainly understand why the eventual winner will certainly explore any options they might have.

Empire has now annointed themselves as a "finalist for New York State's racing franchise." That's a bit of a distortion of the facts, but when have the facts ever really mattered to them? I'm still awaiting an explanation from a spokesperson to the question of what makes Excelsior a "dog track operator." On the other hand, Excelsior continues to conduct themselves with quiet dignity. Their website has been updated with the news of their selection by the state committee, but only with a very brief statement, and some links to news articles. It's almost like the old Road Runner cartoons, with Wile E. Coyote using every bit of treachery and any useful gadgets from the Acme Corporation he can find, while the Road Runner just quietly goes about his business. And note that the Road Runner always wins. Meep Meep!


Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan, great post on Empire's latest spin! Your Road Runner analogy brought a much needed laugh to the day's proceedings, too. Never thought this die-hard Red Sox fan would love the prospect of The Boss's connections running NY racing, but I do. No doubt about it- have to give credit where credit is due: The Steinbrenner organization knows how to succeed in the sports entertainment business before the nation's toughest critics- in the Big Apple. And as you have pointed out, it also proves how much many loyal NY racing fans have come to loathe Empire and their hardball,attack machine tactics. Let's just hope that the folks in Albany see it that way, too.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the last question on the prior thread, I think the gov elect could spin the situation if the board of directors and upper management was completely cleansed of bodies that were in place at the time of the scandal (which has mostly happened).

Another benefit would be avoidance of the inevitable lawsuit regarding the land if NYRA remained an entity.

However, I still have to get over my land grab suspicians to start believing this could actually happen. The state absolutely wants the Big A land and would love to add the appraised value of all the tracks to it's balance sheet, and that will probably override common sense in this case.