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Tuesday, September 04, 2007


- Thanks to reader ljk for directing us to the governor's website, where you can find the Memorandum of Understanding between the state and the "New NYRA." [pdf document] NYRA will relinquish its land claim once the new franchise period takes effect on Jan 1, and lease the land from the state for $1 a year. "The State shall retain title to the real estate and all improvements thereon."


Anonymous said...

So, giving up the title now is the price NYRA is paying for the 30 year franchise. The value of that quid pro quo depends on how iron clad the leaseback agreement is, i.e., that NYRA would have to really screw up in order to be in default under the terms of the lease. I wouldn't be surprised if NYRA tried for at least a 50 year if not 99 year lease; the longer the lease term the more it equates to virtual ownership, especially from the financing standpoint.Will be interesting to see this lease and I assume Ben Liebman will have a link to it when it is declared "official" by the "stewards". The state gets it's leverage by being able to appoint some of the directors and/or trustees although these will become more political plums, I'm afraid;we don't need any "know nothings" when it comes to NY racing management. It just becomes too easy to be too cynical when looking at the whole arrangement. But I'm still basking in the afterglow of another glorious Spa season so don't rain on my parade just yet! /S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

This is DOA in the state legislature. Dear Punter, all Spitzer's people are "know nothings" and it's great that NYRA had a nice meet at the Spa, but let's see how they do at Belmont and Aqueduct.

30 years is criminal. The MOU calls for another $75 million in tax payer support, lets' them skate on the $130 million they still owe the state and we get the land back in 30 years -- because even if they give the state title tomorrow, it's meaningless with this long of a deal. And they still owe another $200 million to others.

There is nothing "new" about NYRA -- Haywood was on the board during the "dark days" and so were Heffernan and Duncker. the Getnick deal smells worse than the used hay at the track. It was the "new" NYRA that declared bankruptcy.

Bruno will buck his own people in Saratoga because he knows this is a horrible deal for the whole state and for racing. Spitzer will make Bruno look like hero when Bruno comes back with a better deal.

This whole thing was negotiated in private.

Sorry to rain on your parade Punter, but I have to wonder if your "afterglow" is herbally enhanced ?

Michael said...

Here is another long comment for you Alan. I would blog this, but I'm still on vacation and my internet connection stinks.

From the Blood-Horse.

In a statement, Empire Racing said: "Empire Racing commends the governor for trying to tackle a complex problem, but his recommendation to retain the failed status quo is bad for horse racing and bad for New York taxpayers. It fails to provide for economic development upstate and the kind of creative vision that racing needs and deserves. It must be rejected.

"It is widely accepted that splitting horse racing and gaming is a losing bet, which is why few successful tracks around the globe separate them. This notion was rejected when it was floated by the administration several months ago, and its survival in the governor’s recommendation is a mystery.

"The governor has spent the last eight months devising his plan to keep the status quo in racing while he seemingly punted on gaming. Now it’s time for the legislature to forge a true solution that will benefit New Yorkers and use the Thoroughbred racing franchise as an engine for economic development throughout the state.

Anonymous said...

1971 - Off-track betting is legalized, separate from the racing franchise.

2007 - Spitzer recommends separating video lottery gaming from the racing franchise.

How many years until The New NYRA begins to complain about the New Broken Model?

'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'
- George Santayana

Anonymous said...

What we need in NY is an end to the current OTB structure.

Let NYRA arrange a deal to maintain the franchise, however, they need to repay some of what they have borrowed.

We need to see a system in which racing shuts down in the middle of winter. 6 weeks minimum.

VLT revenue is lost each day. Belmont should be permitted to become a VLT site. It's a behemoth of a facility, and there is more than enough room for racing interests. They can open up the infield for the party fanatics on the Belmont Stakes Day.

Anonymous said...

Anon # 2 sounds awfully much like an Empire supporter. To you, I say, "Don't worry, be happy", things will work out just fine with the "New" NYRA riding high in the saddle. The Spa Meet "afterglow" referred to in an earlier post is entirely herb/chemical/alcohol-free. I think it is even money or odds on that Joe Bruno will be on board with NYRA before too much longer. Perhaps Getnick & Getnick are sacrificed to get the deal done. Joe is just hoping that more damage can be done to Spitzer in the meanwhile, simple as that. BTW, The NY Post lead editorial today is on the NYRA deal and ust another case of the press using NYRA as a whipping boy, and in the Post's case, to damage Spitzer. While I am not a Spitzer supporter I think his about face on NYRA is a good sign that he is facing up to political reality. And Joe Bruno is as skilled a pol as exists in NY; he now must realize that Spitzer could outmaneuver him with the NYRA ploy since it is safe to say that Joe's influential Saratoga constituents strongly backed NYRA in the showdown. Anyway, it's not over yet so stay tuned, and I hope that Alan continues his usual insightful reporting into events as they develop in the homestretch. /S/ Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

Green Mountain -

Give me a break. Spitzer going with NYRA is simply him trying to protect his image. Spitzer, as Attorney General, agreed to the federal monitor. He stands to look pretty bad if he said anything but "the monitor worked" and "NYRA is different".

Read the press release again. He points towards his involvement in the NYRA prosecution as being the turning point.