- One might think that peace would have broken out amongst horsemen and track management in New York amidst the various legislation passed last month. But that's apparently not totally the case. For one thing, the state Racing and Wagering Board is about to rule on Jeff Gural's closure of Vernon Downs last year, four days before the meet was scheduled to end.
To cancel races, a track needs the agreement of the racing board and of horse owners and trainers at the track. The racing board denied Gural's request. Horsemen did not agree, either, said their lawyer, Joe Faraldo, and suffered hardships because the track shut down early.Seems to me that the horsemen all over the state would be severely impacted in the way Faraldo describes should Vernon have its license suspended; so I'm not sure what the horsemen have to gain by continuing to press their complaints on this matter. On Tuesday, the new racino splits that will provide increased revenue to Vernon, the state's other harness tracks, and the horsemen take effect.
"The importance of the long racing season is the ability to race your horses throughout the whole period," Faraldo said. "If it's a limited time and your horses are not fit to race and there's no October racing, there's no November racing, you don't get to race at Vernon."
Owners had to ship their horses to other tracks, including Saratoga and Batavia, which meant increased expenses for Vernon horsemen and that horses at those tracks got bumped, Faraldo said. [Post Standard]
Elsewhere, the Standardbred Owners of NY won the right to file a brief in support of the Racing and Wagering Board in a court appeal against Suffolk OTB. The Board is seeking to overturn a lower court decision which would relieve the OTB from paying "millions of dollars" to harness racing interests.
In Albany, as the NY budget process forges on behind closed doors [There has been all of one public five-way leaders meeting. Just for the record. (Daily Politics)], racing industry issues have been pushed to the backburner. However, the question of slots at Belmont has to be on some table somewhere.
Proposed budgets from both Paterson’s office and the state Senate call for gaming at both Aqueduct and Belmont, but the Assembly budget wants video lottery terminals restricted to Aqueduct only. [Thoroughbred Times]And, of course, the question of who will operate the racino at Aqueduct is still awaiting an answer...and how long has that been going on? A spokesman for Paterson said that negotiations are under way. Jeez.
And, most ominously, Elizabeth Benjamin reports on her Daily Politics blog:
State lawmakers and competitive Capitol reporters alike have noted with some trepidation how unusually crowded The New York Times' Albany bureau is this week, and are all abuzz about what big story the Gray Lady might break next.It was the Times that broke the story that led to the downfall of Spitzer.
The assumption, of course, is that the target du jour is Spitzer's replacement, Gov. David Paterson, who has revealed much about his personal life since his swearing in on March 17, but nevertheless remains the subject of considerable speculation.Oh man.....