Some readers had a hard time believing NYRA's claim, as reported in the NY Times, that it would "lose" more than $5 million due to the termination of the Long Island Railroad service to Belmont. I'm told by a spokesperson for NYRA that the figure refers to business, not revenue. The math is simple: NYRA anticipates that it will lose five percent of its on-track attendance; based on last spring's total meet attendance of 384,000, that comes to around 20,000. Multiply that by the per capita of $260, and you get $5.2 million of handle. Presumably, some of that will be bet off-track, hopefully for NYRA through its own wagering platform rather than OTB so that it retains the same percentages...but in any case, that's how they came up with the number.
Of course, there will be LIRR service on Belmont day, but an anonymous reader notes: Unless there is a freak tstorm [for the Preakness], belmont will be half empty on the first saturday in june. I certainly would have to agree with the reader's assessment of the chances of their being a Triple Crown possibility. Perhaps the presence of Rachel Alexandra will help, but, unfortunately, she's being pointed for the Acorn rather than the Test of Champions.
- Governor Paterson announced some new rules which will facilitate union organization of employees at certain worksites....including Belmont Park.
The directive, which was signed on April 24 and issued on Friday, will require the operators of projects that receive assistance like loans, tax breaks or property leases from state agencies or public authorities to obtain “labor peace” agreements with unions seeking to organize their workers. [NY Times]I suppose that NYRA qualifies under all three of those conditions of having received loans, tax breaks, and property leases, and that the order would apply to the other tracks as well.
The governor is still scraping bottom in the latest poll from Marist, which shows him getting trounced in matchups with Andrew Cuomo and the seedy ex-mayor of NYC whose name I can't even bring myself to type so early in the morning. It even shows him trailing Rick Lazio, and that has to be really depressing. But there are reports this morning that the governor has finally persuaded two holdout Democratic Senators to support his latest MTA bailout plan (which I tend to doubt would restore Belmont service); and yesterday he announced a proposal for a spending cap on the state budget as he attempts to rehabilitate his image. He has a long ways to go.
Friday is the deadline for new and/or revised bids for the racino at Aqueduct. Delaware North is expected to rebid for the project. In what was labeled a "candid" conversation with William Bissett - if it were really so, the interviewer may have asked him about the accusations in the SL Green lawsuit - Del North's president says:
"When you go to Aqueduct, and you walk through the facility, the people who work there can tell you the names of everyone sitting in those chairs. And if you walk by an empty chair, unfortunately, that player has either died or missed the bus. It's that critical. [Standardbred Canada]I'd like to know when the last time Bissett was at the Big A on a racing day! If it was sometime during the last month of the meeting and he ran across my empty seat, he can be assured that I was neither dead nor late for the bus. Just bored.