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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thursday Night Notes - Jan 3

- Thanks to reader jk for sending along a link to this post by James Odato on the Times Union's blog. Therein, Sheldon Silver speaks out on his objections to slots at Belmont.

“People who have sold this idea of VLTts say $400 a day in revenue. It hasn’t happened anywhere in the state - not at Yonkers . . . Monticello. None of them have broken $200 a day. To put more machines five minutes from the existing authorization is only going to provide a saturation of machines . . . I really don’t understand, and the case has not been made to me . … as to why these machines at Belmont are so critical to the operation of the State of New York.”
I have it on good authority that the take at Yonkers is over $200 - it was reported to be $230 in this column from October - but Silver certainly makes a reasonable point given the disappointing VLT numbers we've seen. If there's only to be one racino, I personally think that Belmont makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. Besides it size and accessibility via the railroad, an upscale establishment at Belmont could be marketed to the affluent Long Island suburbs just to its east; people who can actually afford it. I could see my parents making the trip from nearby Manhasset to see Steve and Edyie at Belmont; but probably not in Ozone Park.

OK, maybe in Ozone Park too. The fact is that without slots, Aqueduct would probably shut down, which would be a disaster for New York racing as far as I'm concerned, so of course it has to have them. Silver is looking to tie other issues in with the franchise, and will certainly demand a heavy price for his giving in on the issue.

Another reader wrote: I've heard rumor that the actual horsemen's cut may be closer to 4% when it's all said and done under the Governor's proposal.

It's true that the effective rate may turn out to be less than 6.5%; though not, at least how it was explained to me, quite that drastically. I have a detailed mathematical analysis that I won't reproduce here, but I can send you the Word document if you drop me a line.

- Silver told the local Albany Capital News 9 today:
"Let me now make it clear. The negotiations are now moving forward in a positive direction. Details are being worked out."
- Curlin is scheduled to work out on Sunday.

4 Comments:

jk said...

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/storyprint.asp?StoryID=652055

Deal would weaken NYRA power
Association's control of board cut under state plan

By JAMES M. ODATO, Capitol bureau

First published: Thursday, January 3, 2008

ALBANY -- State officials are crafting a deal that would weaken the New York Racing Association's control of its board of trustees.
NYRA is objecting privately to the plan, which is part of a deal being worked out by negotiators for Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Sen. Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to extend NYRA's franchise to run state racetracks for another 20 to 25 years.

Under the plan, NYRA would have to reduce its board from 28 members, 20 of whom are NYRA appointees, to 21 members, 11 of whom would be appointed by NYRA.

Of the other 10 board members, the governor would appoint three, the Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader would each appoint two, and horse owners, breeders and organized labor would each name one.

snip

Anonymous said...

Come on, Alan, where is the news on Frank Stronach's energy drink contest at Gulfstream Park?

Yes, it's true! Stronach has a contest going for an energy drink model.

Will they serve this stuff at Saratoga?

ljk said...

"Aqueduct would probably shut down, which would be a disaster for New York racing"

Now I'll admit it's been over ten years since I've been to the big A, but unless they've made HUGE improvements...

Charlie was on Capital OTB during the Spa meet saying they had previously considered how to race winter long at Belmont. Seems to me he discussed utilizing the training track with a winterized or synthetic surface and smaller heated facility that could handle the "modest" winter attendance. I don't think that would be a disaster.

A month or two of no racing (a political impossibility) wouldn't be a disaster either

alan said...

ljk -

Are you the same commenter as jk? :/

Besides the fact that I personally love the Big A, my comment is based on the thought of 10 1/2 months of one-turn dirt racing at Belmont. Besides the fact that I dislike that track configuration to start with, it's the change from one-turn to two-turns and back again which I think provides a lot of angles and juice throughout the year.

Whatsmore, Belmont is aligned so that the sun would never shine on the front of the track during the winter, turning it into what I'm sure would be a frigid and empty wasteland.

If Charlie has a plan to conduct two-turn races at an alternate oval at the Belmont site - one that people can actually go outdoors and observe without freezing to death - then I'd have an open mind about it.