- Bill A. 9998 in the Assembly, S. 6950 in the Senate, isn't really quite as daunting as its 190 pages sounds, or looks; at least regarding the franchise agreement. Most of the bill is a reiteration of existing racing law; pretty mundane stuff, including the definition of a quinella (though strangely, no sign of an exacta). The clauses relating to the new agreement are in capital letters. And really, there's nothing too much of significance in addition to what has been reported.
One thing that stands out for me is the tremendous amount of responsibility placed upon the Franchise Oversight Board. I joked the other day about them deserving to be paid well; but in fact, they will serve without compensation for their services as members, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. They are specifically permitted to hold real jobs, so it sounds like essentially a volunteer part-time job, which is why Charlie Hayward merely scoffed at the notion that they would take over the racing operation if racing shut down. I don't imagine that NYRA was ever too worried about that.
As it is, they have enough to do; the list starts on page 15 of the bill. And it seems to me that their responsibilities involve much more than Oversight. For example, the Franchise Oversight Board, heretofore to be known as the FOB.....er, make that, the FrOB, is to: Represent the interests of the state in all real estate development proposed for Aqueduct racetrack or real estate development at Belmont park racetrack. That in itself sounds like a six figure full-time gig to me! Here's another one:
Facilitate discussions and voluntary agreements between the franchised corporation and off-track betting corporations to streamline operations, decrease operating costs and maximize opportunities pertaining to costs and revenues, and encourage an exchange of views and experiences [sic] from the franchised corporation and the off-track betting corporations to improve the racing product in New York and to realize efficiencies.Almost sounds like they're being put in charge of fixing the whole screwed up system. Of course, there's also all the actual overseeing, which includes all contracts, purchasing, monitoring NYRA's compliance with the law, and with all of their obligations, including their audits by the comptroller, and those benchmarks which I guess they'll also have to also specify what they are.
Reviewing and making recommendations for the budget, reviewing collective bargaining agreements and their choice of vendors, acting as the lessor of the land, the intellectual property, and the simulcast signal, suing and getting sued, responsible for paying property taxes, reporting annually to the governor, overseeing, monitoring, and reviewing "all significant transactions and operations of the Franchised Corporation authorized by this chapter!" And, of course, operating the tracks if the franchise is somehow terminated.
Finally: Do all things necessary, convenient or desirable to carry out its purposes and for the exercise of the powers granted in this article. Like what, hiring a staff of 100? Five people are going to do this in their spare time and without pay? Oh man, you gotta be kidding me? Any volunteers?
Here's an interesting old clause that I stumbled upon:
Proposition Wagers.For one thing, I'm surprised to actually see something creative and original contained in New York State racing law. Might be interesting to have wagering on the leading jockey at Saratoga - that often seems to turn into a ding-dong affair, and I could see how that could be cool. Don't know about trainer - it would probably be strictly a two-horse affair. Who do you think would be favored in 2008 - Mott or Pletcher?
Every racing association or corporation licensed or franchised in accordance with article two, three four of this chapter shall have the authority to offer proposition wagering on its own races. For the purposes of this section, a proposition wager shall mean pari-mutuel wagers, approved by the racing and wagering board, that are based on the results of a live horse race or a series of horse races. Proposition wagers may include pari-mutuel wagers on the leading trainers, drivers, or jockeys during an entire race meeting and pari-mutuel wagers on the leading trainers, drivers, and jockeys competing on a single program in one or more stakes races or in races that award purses of one hundred thousand dollars or more.
[UPDATE: A reader makes the morning line for Friday's jockey race at the Big A.]