- Want to set the record straight on something I wrote in this post regarding Bruno's position in the franchise negotiations. I criticized the Senate Majority Leader for taking stances which I felt were more self-serving than for the good of the industry, questioning why, for example, he wasn't pressing for a larger cut of slots money for horsemen.
Well, he is. Paul Post, reporting for the Thoroughbred Times website, writes that Bruno says that the plan does not give horsemen a fair share of revenues. The MOU grants horsemen only 6.5% of slots revenue. That's less than any of the present racinos at the state's harness tracks; and pending legislation contains percentages of 8.25% and 8.75% in the Senate and Assembly versions respectively (with a carve-out allowing NYRA to have their own agreement).
I'd like to believe that Bruno is sincerely standing up for the industry against Spitzer and Silver, neither of whom have shown any indication that they care at all. In the comments section to the above referenced post (worth the time, and thanks to all for the well thought-out posts), reader Sarah wrote:
As an old-fashioned "yellow-dog" democrat, I also find myself amazed at having to praise Joe Bruno . . . up to a point . . . for sticking to his guns almost to the end. He understands the issues and, rightly to my mind, has been appalled by the idea that NYRA -- with board more or less intact -- is apparently going to be given a free pass.I'm just not sure whether Bruno's motivation is as she says, or if he's just looking for some spots to make some political appointments. You could certainly point to the bottom line and hold the board responsible for the state of things as Bruno does; or you could point to the bottom line and give the board credit for a racing program which produced nine or ten (depending on how you look at it) Breeders' Cup winners this year. I'd certainly like to hear more talk from the Senator of consolidating the OTB's, or of demanding a written plan on physical improvements to the downstate tracks.
As for the negotiations, they seem to be going nowhere, as opposed to the more optimistic reports last week, with Belmont slots still a key point of contention between Speaker Silver and the other two. Paul Post sums up: With so many negotiating points to settle, it is highly doubtful whether lawmakers will come to an agreement before NYRA’s temporary extension expires.