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Friday, December 28, 2007

Temporary Insanity

- The temporary extension of NYRA's franchise, which runs through Jan 23, still needs approval from the State Racing and Wagering Board; Oversight Board chairman Steven Newman says he is "confident" that the final approval is forthcoming. There's no doubt that the agreement was carefully constructed from NYRA's side to ensure that the land claim is left intact; and the term is short enough so that their ace in the hole remains potent. Charles Hayward told Bloodhorse: “NYRA is not commenting on any franchise developments at this time." He's just getting into the spirit of these most closed door of closed door negotiations.

But from the muffled sounds coming through those doors, leaking from the top staff members of the three relevant parties who are doing the negotiating, we may very well be in the same position on January 22 as we are now. The reports indicate that Senator Bruno and his Senate Republicans are not budging an inch, and why would they right now given the extra breathing room?

Negotiators for Spitzer were said to be upset with Senate Republicans for refusing to compromise on some matters, according to officials involved in the talks. Bruno also wants to sharply cut--by as much as half--a deal made by Spitzer with NYRA for a 30-year extension. [Bloodhorse]
James Odato reports in the Albany Times Union that the sticking points other than the length of the extension remain the same: the makeup of NYRA's board, and the rights to the simulcast signal. Odato also writes that the Senate wants to make sure the NYRA president and chairman is replaced. That, on its face, sounds to me like nothing more than petty vindictiveness. How about if we replace the Senate Majority Leader instead? Thus far, it doesn't seem as if the pressure from his Saratoga constituency is making much of a difference. We may not see if it ultimately will until the deadline is firmly upon us. And I don't expect NYRA to agree to another extension after this one.

The New York Sun reports today that Bruno will not meet face-to-face with the Governor, whom he accused of threatening his life, unless they're done in front of the cameras; that's the latest somewhat irrational if not hysterical statement to come out of the Senator's mouth. Perhaps he's confusing Spitzer with his former consultant Roger Stone?
[Sheldon] Silver, speaking to the Sun, said Mr. Bruno is "stomping and screaming and name-calling," suggesting that the Senate leader has a "total disdain" for his responsibilities.
"What would Shelly have us do? Have the governor run roughshod over everyone?" Mr. Bruno asked. "This governor has gotten very politicized. ... He has threatened my life in terms of my existence, personally, calls me a senile old s—, and he's going to knock me down and knock me out. And then Shelly, the wimp, sits there doing nothing and thanks the good lord that it's not him that Spitzer's aimed at."

Mr. Bruno was apparently referring to an episode earlier in the year when he charged that the governor told him he would "knock" him down. Spitzer aides denied the charge.

Said Mr. Silver: "I really shouldn't dignify anything that he says with a response." [NY Sun]
Yup, sounds like they're close to an agreement to me! Talks are said to be continuing today.

- A bit further up the Thruway, Vernon Downs' owner Jeff Gural will meet with Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, and a representative from the horseman's association other than Joe Faraldo. Gural has backed down, for now, from his threat to shutter the racino there on January 7. He's hoping that the Assembly will take action on the bill, passed by the Senate, which provides a bigger cut of slots revenue to some racinos, and which contains a provision specifically designed to help bail him out from his idea to compete with the Turning Stone casino ten minutes away. The Assembly bill contains a cut of 8.75% for the horsemen; that number is halfway between the 8.25% in the Senate bill, and the 9.25% which the horsemen contend was the legislative intent of New York's original VLT bill.

- Shug McGaughey's always-trying Dancing Forever has been toiling in second level allowance races - to my financial detriment in a couple of cases. But he found a stakes field he was able to beat on Wednesday, nipping co-favorites Terrific Storm and Croton Road in an exciting three-way finish to the Our Dear Peggy stakes at Calder. He's an honest horse and the talent has always been there; leave it to Shug to help him finally put it all together late in his four-year old season. He beat a couple of nice horses there, and overcame a slow pace to do so, closing for the win in a final furlong of 11.16 seconds. Dancing Forever is by Rahy, and has the usual Phipps suspects on her distaff side - out of a full sister to champion Heavenly Prize (the dam of Good Reward and Pure Prize), third dam is Blitey (dam of Dancing Spree and Furlough), etc., etc.,


Anonymous said...

Sheldon Silver is a bad guy.

He's the one(and only person) responsible for holding up Jessica's law.(Which is a mandatory 25 to life sentence on a child molesters)

This guy is bad news.

Anonymous said...

Bruno's deadline is July when the Spa opens. Closing the Big A now does not hurt the Spa economy.

Silver is indifferent on the NYRA issue.

Spitzer is ineffective on all issues.

NYRA gave them a month. When they shut it down next month, NYRA can say we did all we could, even gave an extension.

It is a waiting game of sorts. Will the bankruptcy judge make a decision before the Feds arrest Bruno for fraud? Stay tuned.

Alan Mann said...

>>Will the bankruptcy judge make a decision before the Feds arrest Bruno for fraud? Stay tuned.

Ah, that's the little mole lurking in the background that could be sprung at any moment....or not at all.

Anonymous said...

"...Silver, speaking to the Sun, said Mr. Bruno is "stomping and screaming and name-calling," ."

I was at a Saratoga County event this past Wednesday and Bruno's lackey, Assemblyman James Tedisco, the Assembly Minority Leader, was giving a little a little speech and mentioed that he was having such difficults with Spitzer, that he was surprised that Spitzer' "...hasn't keyed my car yet.." The crowd laugh - three local reporters were there --never a mention about it in their articles...his comment completely blew me away. What an a**.

Anonymous said...

They are like a bunch of six year olds suddenly given the power to open or close the school yard at their whimsy.

The fact that Bruno and Silver hate NYRA so tells me NYRA is the clear best choice.

For all Spitzer's faults, he is nowhere near as inheritantly corrupt as those two guys.

Anonymous said...


The Racing & Wagering Board apparently just declined to act on NYRA'a application. They seem to indicate that NYRA must go through the Oversight Board with a management contract for racing to continue.


Anonymous said...

Not surprising to me, this is not a simple legal issue, commented well back that a temporary extension would be difficult to achieve, legally.

Without a true Franchise Extension, NYRA does not legally exist, so how can they operate a racetrack?

Oversight Board is the only legal entity allowed to run racing past the expiration date.

Sure Albany will find a way around this somehow someway, they always do. Whethar it is legal or not remains questionable.

Anonymous said...

The big poker game continues. Problem is it's difficult to see how many chips each player has in front of him. Bruno still acts like he has the biggest pile and and is just waiting for more of Spitzer's and Silver's chips to be in the pot before he calls. Or, is he bluffer-supreme? My money is still on Joe Bruno, but as the great Victorian Prime Minister Disraeli once observed: "What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens."
I agree with one of the anon commenters in re Bruno's timetable- the Saratoga crowd knows that Bruno has brought them a lot of goodies over the years so they will stick with him. After all, what choice do they have? The Saratoga locals beef with Joe has to do with the fact that Joe deserted NYRA, their franchise choice, fairly early in the franchise selection process and they haven't forgotten it. Joe, I am certain, by now has reassured them behind the scenes that NYRA will be the franchisee, that Saratoga's key role in NY racing will continue even if NYRA doesn't get exactly what it wants. So, we wait some more. /S/Green Mtn Punter