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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Coming Up Empty

- I handicapped Saturday's card at Aqueduct and came up with a fat nothing. I'd usually be concentrating on the other tracks this time of year, but I did so well locally last weekend, and with Just Zip It this week, that I invested all my time on the Big A, to no avail. So I'll have to just wing it, and there are those Fair Grounds races that I've already done.

I will be going to the track, if for no other reason to take all the money out of my wagering account. Horseplayers have not received a notice from NYRA like the horsemen and employees did. So we don't really have any idea what the status of our NYRA Rewards accounts will be if they shut down on Thursday. As of this writing, there's not a single acknowledgment of the situation on NYRA's website.

Jerry Bossert paints a very grim picture in the NY Daily News today, reporting that there are approximately 15 issues still [to] be resolved.

Some issues are very important, including NYRA being able to control its simulcasting signal, while others are trivial, such as the antiquated 1940s law of not being allowed to give out free passes to patrons.

Passes were going to be allowed, according to the sources, but not now as the provision [prohibiting] them allegedly was written back into the new bill.

What's going to happen when a casino ever actually opens at Aqueduct? Will the NYRA have to charge an admission to enter a casino? [NY Daily News]
And where is the Daily News' proofreader today?? I thought we were past the issue of the simulcasting signal. Perhaps that's what Charles Hayward is referring to when he says that the contentious issues are other than what Bruno is saying in public.

Well, I'm not feeling it, and it doesn't look or sound good as of now. As I've said, if we ever get to the point where the three politicians can stand together in agreement and proclaim that it's NYRA that is in opposition, the association better have some very good reasons to shut down racing. And by "very good reasons," I mean reasons that they can justify to the public, no matter how legitimate they really may be. Because despite their efforts, all of the bashing over the years by clueless newspaper editorials, politicians, and the other franchise hopefuls have certainly had an effect. The package is routinely referred to as a "bailout" despite Hayward's protestations, and NYRA is still perceived as incompetent and corrupt. So I think that NYRA stands to get absolutely savaged in the court of public opinion if the track goes dark on Thursday, unless they can somehow make a case that resonates with the public and the press.

- Santa Anita resumes today.

14 Comments:

jk said...

Alan--I hope you a right about NYRA but I do not "feel" it either.

What are the chances of the 3 men in a room agreeing on anything? It has not happened yet. All they could agree on is to punt on the slots and OTB.

There is $1 billion of real estate on the line so NYRA may not care much about public opinion. They will want material benefits for giving up their billion dollar claim.

At this point, I can't see NYRA taking a watered down deal. The elected officials will take plenty of heat. They have had years to get this done.

There is still time for the last minute deal to get done but I do not see NYRA blinking.

Anonymous said...

NYRA will have to blink.

Even if NYRA is triumphant in their land claim, what's the best outcome they can hope for? A return to the 1955 statute under which they were created? Everyone fortgets that the 1955 law had the land distributed to 501(c)(3) charities designated by the Governor at the conclusion of the franchise. NYRA doesn't get to keep the assets; the trustees don't get to divy the proceeds and get rich.

Mr. Hayward bristles at the deal being called a 'bailout'? What's his favored term? Charity? Hand out? The NYRA trustees may not be corrupt, but they presided over the decline of New York racing. Any idiot can complain about the state of affairs; it takes intelligence to offer workable solutions. Charles Wait's resignation was a step in the right direction.

It will be interesting to see if NYRA is truly interested in the best interests of racing, as opposing to simply clawing to stay in control.

jk said...

Pyro is now my Derby horse.

Anonymous said...

Who will be the hero at the 11th hour?.... You're right, NYRA better be careful or those tricky pols will leave NYRA holding the bag. As for me, for what little it is worth, I will point the finger at the Triumverate as it is their responsibility to do the public business in a business like way. Can we get everybody in a formerly smoke filled room in Albany on Monday and not let 'em out til a deal is made? /S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

gee alan i miss those HUNCH bets......i mean those entertainment HUNCH bets

Anonymous said...

Pyro looked like the real deal with that explosive kick once presented, but got a perfect trip today.

Z Fortune was wide as expected and put in a premature sustained run, gallant in his first defeat this NY Bred can turn the tables down the line but will probably have to wait for the Derby as I am sure they will be kept apart.

Fillies did not impress, looking elsewhere.

Both are legit for Assmussen.

Anonymous said...

NYRA will not blink, Albany has way more to lose.

NYRA trustees are just that, trustees of racing and the land their ancestors (in some cases) dontated to this organization. They are not looking to get rich off land claim, they are rich already.

Looking to preserve racing, and all things being equal they would rather the land go to charity than to NY State.

Albany wants and needs the land, they will blink.

NYRA's legal counsel and leadership has proven up to this task.

They have conceded plenty, Albany has not.

Anonymous said...

PS - watching Bruno et al fold is going to be as enjoyable as watching Hillary concede.

Arrogant politicians wallowing in their tears, gotta love it.

Anonymous said...

NYRA's legal counsel is playing with your taxpayer money. The state has given millions in direct funding to permit NYRA to continue to operate. This isn't just used to put the show on, its used to pay for Charlie's free car, executive salaries, bankruptcy lawyers and lobbyists.

I though the New York State Constitution allowed pari-mutuel wagering on horse races to raise reasonable revenue for the support of government. I have yet to see anyone question how giving millions to NYRA for operating costs and baling NYRA out at hundreds of millions of dollars is 'raising reasonable revenue for the support of government.' The continued funding of NYRA is unconstitutional; everyone involved should be ashamed. Everyone.

10:04 a.m., what has NYRA conceded? I haven't heard a thing that is a concession on their part? Not operating VLT's? They didn't want too, hence MGM. Fewer seats on the Board? They've been seeking a reduction for years? The land? Be reasonable.

If you think stopping racing is a good way to save it, you could qualify as a trustee. Reminds me of the old marine adage from Viet Nam: 'we had to burn the village to save it.'

Anonymous said...

Bash NYRA, bash Charlie Hayward, bash the NYRA trustees, bash the state, bash Joe Bruno and the pols, grandstand in the media, who will blink first? Which of the Triumverate will be the first to announce a non-stop negotiating session, or at least demand one as a CYA move, to begin in Albany on Monday? No eats, no bathroom breaks, no nothing until a deal is structured, and no one goes home until it is signed by the Triumverate, NYRA, OTB, and any other party to the agreement. /S/Green Mtn Punter

Indulto said...

I agree with Anonymous 10:04. The land is what it’s all about. I have more faith in Duncker and Hayward to do what’s best for racing than in Bruno and Spitzer. Are the long-term interests of the horsemen better off in the hands of VLT operators and land developers? The more NYRA acquiesces, the more they are asked to give away. Duncker and Hayward are men of principle and now it’s time to act on them.

Anonymous 12:18,
If NYRA’s legal counsel is playing with taxpayer money, what is it the elected officials are doing? How much has the delay in the VLT installation at Aqueduct -- first by Pataki and now by Spitzer and Bruno -- cost the taxpayers? Would bankruptcy lawyers and operating deficits been necessary if those politicians had done the jobs expected of them?

Alan,
Will the NYRA board have to accept every political appointee, or will they be able to vote on them? If they can’t object, what’s to stop Bruno from appointing another weapon of mass obstruction, e.g., Perlee?

It appears that the difficulty in differentiating between posters named “Anonymous” has been extended to posters using nicknames.
To poster “Indulto [wood]” and with apologies to the Beatles:
I once had a name, or should I say, it once had me.

jk said...

NY Times editorial says the Bush administration is slowing down the Bruno investigation to keep him in office as long as possible. The plot thickens!



http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/09/opinion/09sat2.html?

Anonymous said...

The NY Times says it's Bush's fault??

Wow, that's a first.

Indulto, thanks for backing me up, could not have defended my comments better.

Funny how giving up a billion dollars worth of land for a franchise extension and debt forgiveness is considered a bail out by some.

Follow if you can, before NYRA existed, a bunch of wealthy individuals that loved racing horses purchased vacant land, developed race tracks on the property, laying the foundation the great sport most of us commenters love.

NY State outlawed pari mutual racing on a whim, ruining this sport, some say with the sole intention of shaking down these wealthy owners, some spin as an attempt to regulate and industry gone wild.

To continue operating the sport they loved, they had no choice but to contribute this valuable land to a quasi state, non profit, organizition called the NYRA and subject themselves to ridiculous regulation rules. If the franchise was ever terminated, which at the time was understood to mean racing was outlawed again, the land ownership was to be transferred to
charity, not to the NYS.

This organization was profitable for may years, with the profits being turned over by NYRA to the State as per the regulations, as opposed to being accumulated for future need as would be done by any non refgulated not for profit.

Then, when the tracks needed renovation and did not have the funds to pay for the renovation due to years of turning over profits to NYS, they borrowed money from NY, and in the middle of the night while no one was watching(or truthfully no one cared) the legislature changed the language so that the land would go to NYS instead of to charity.

Now, it is spun as a bail out when that same very valuable land is given to NYS in exchange for debt forgiveness of an amount far below the value of that land.

Amazing.

Anonymous said...

All of NYRA's problems are because of the state.

It has nothing to do with them ignoring OTB in the 1970's.

It has nothing to do with them waiting on VLT installation (please don't blame the state; Pataki didn't pick MGM).

It has nothing to do with them passing red 'budgets' year after year. Think they did that in their own businesses?

It has nothing to do with them giving up the land in 1955. And again in 1983. Then deciding those rules don't apply.

It has nothing to do with treating the franchises as personal playthings.

NYRA apologist: you get what you deserve: crappy ideas, deferred maintenence and years of five New York bred mainden races on each card.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana