- Friday's scheduled court hearing on Jeff Gural's attempted closing of Vernon Downs' barn area was postponed to early January. A local Assemblyman called for Governor Spitzer to get involved. "The governor ran for election saying that he would be a leader, and this calls for leadership to solve the problem at Vernon Downs." [Oneida Daily Dispatch] I would guess that this is not very high on Spitzer's priority list. He probably thinks that Vernon Downs is the host of a TV game show.
The Assembly version of the casino bill that Gural and Faraldo are battling over contains a cut of 8.75% for horsemen and 1.25% for breeders, instead of the 8.25% / 1% passed by the Senate. It also specifically carves out Aqueduct from any such requirement; and as I mentioned in this post, the contentious MOU has a cut of only 6.5% for the horsemen there.
Matt Hegarty reports in the Form that things ain't going so well with the franchise negotiations in Albany - "little progress" has been made.
"All of our focus right now is on moving the process forward," [Bruno spokesperson Scott] Reif said. "We hope to get at least a handshake agreement before the end of the year, and then address that legislatively in January." [Daily Racing Form]Would Spitzer and Bruno actually have to shake hands in order to have a handshake agreement? That would be front page news in itself. We've certainly come a long ways from this poignant scene from Valentine's Day, haven't we? Joe may come with a bucket of horse manure next time.
Steven Newman, Spitzer's handpicked new Oversight Board chairperson, is expected to work closely with NYRA on a temporary extension if a long-term agreement is not in place. [DRF]