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Monday, January 15, 2007

Looking Presidential

- The Saratogian reported over the weekend that Excelsior Racing has joined the state's motion to have NYRA's bankruptcy filing dismissed. A spokesperson for the company explained that the action is " to clarify that under state law, New York State owns all of the racetrack properties," and added that "Excelsior is joining the action because of the ad hoc committee's recommendation that Excelsior should succeed NYRA as holders of the franchise."

This seems like a way for Exclesior to play the role of the designated franchise holder - kinda like a candidate trying to making him or herself look 'presidential.' Empire is left to continue their effort to portray itself as Excelsior's equal, and they will be holding the first of their promised "town meetings" in Saratoga on Wednesday. However, with the committee having clearly selected Excelsior, Empire's forum may feel about as relevant as Dennis Kucinich soliciting suggestions on how he would treat the state when he's elected president. They are clearly not in a position to join the court motion, as it would make them seem like the follower to Excelsior that they really are at this point in time. Clever PR move by Excelsior.

The paper reports that Feb 6 is now the date that the court will hear the dismissal argument, as well as NYRA's plea to have their $50 million credit line approved with the land as collateral. Citing the good weather and steady business, NYRA's Bill Nader said that their current finances would allow them to operate into February, "how deep into February I don't know." As the court date approaches, look for Excelsior to announce that they are prepared to take over operations immediately in the case that the court rules against NYRA and throws the continuance of racing at Aqueduct in doubt.


Anonymous said...

It's nice to have you back, Alan. I agree with your assessment of Excelsior's joining the State's motion. However, I do take exception to the statement that the Pataki committee "clearly selected Excelsior."

A close look at the scoring process reveals that, based on their unorthodox rating method, the AHC needed a subsequent vote on the 50% overall bid category to arrive at the required 7-2 majority. This was a pressure-packed peer situation not unlike a criminal jury deliberation except there unanimity is required. If the original vote of 6-3 in this category for Excelsior stood, then Empire would have received the overall recommendation.

As Steve Crist and others have reiterated, there is nothing clear about this whole franchise business.

Anonymous said...

LS - Thanks, nice to be back.

>> However, I do take exception to the statement that the Pataki committee "clearly selected Excelsior."

OK, that's a fair point. I was just trying to emphasize that Excelsior was selected over Empire, but I suppose you're right that it was not as clear as the 7-2 vote might appear on its face.