- Nick Kling notes in the Troy Record that Senator Bruno seems to have hardened his stance on NYRA.
One month ago I spoke to Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno about the NYRA Board of Trustees. Bruno has been advocating a significant change in the make-up of the group. I asked Senator Bruno if a reconstituted NYRA board would have to consist of a majority of state appointees. His answer to me, at that time, was clear. "Absolutely not," Bruno said.Matt Hegarty, the Form's crack political-and-other-off-track-stuff correspondent, repeated that assertion in his latest column on the matter, in which he also reported that support within NYRA for slots at Belmont may be waning. Some officials may feel that the poor economic outlook and widening state budget deficit will cause lawmakers to further slash the industry's cut of the VLT pie. Hegarty also opines that the Feb 13 deadline may have a lot more meaning than the last one did.
However, Daily Racing Form reported in its Jan. 21 on-line edition that Bruno is now striving for exactly that. [Troy Record]
Given all the turmoil, it is becoming more likely that NYRA will not participate in another short-term extension. Without a long-term legislative deal, NYRA officials could threaten to shut down racing on Feb. 13 and seek a resolution through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. NYRA filed for bankruptcy late in 2006 and has repeatedly claimed in court that the association owns the three racetracks, a position that is disputed by many state officials. [DRF]A shutdown would become even more likely, indeed, inevitable, should the Republicans on the Oversight Board flex their newfound muscle and seek to dilute the language which, in NYRA's view, fully protects their land claim. I still lean to the opinion that they won't do that, as the fingers would still point to Bruno as the Man Who Stopped Racing. On the other hand, NYRA may finally be ready to take this to the brink and demand a resolution or else. If they fully believe in their legal stance, why wouldn't they at this point? NYRA's influence on the negotiations figures to greatly diminish once the issue becomes entwined with the general budget negotiations (which may already have occurred given Spitzer's inclusion of Belmont VLT's in his proposal). And after all, the state has backed down every time that the land claim has threatened to go to court. However, I'm not even going to try to guess at this time if they'll do the same next month.