Try saying that ten times fast...
The Sheikh of Dubai (foiled again in his quest for a Derby win and ain't that a shame), is seeking a zoning change for his Greentree Training Center in Saratoga. An attorney for Darley USA told the City Council that they are requesting the change so he can upgrade existing on-site housing for staff. However, there's concern that the Sheikh could use such a switch to develop the site in other ways.
Such a change could allow Darley USA, the Lexington, Ky.-based racing operation that owns the horse farm, or future owners to apply for non-equine uses for the farm, including concerts, restaurants, dormitories, religious centers and more, Accounts Commissioner John Franck said Thursday.Perhaps they're scared that he might be interested in building Meydan West? Given the fact that the Sheikh's real estate ventures back home ain't going so well, there is likely a different motive. It seems as if recent barn construction has more than doubled the city's assessment of the property's worth and, thus, its tax liability.
"Once we change the zoning, the permitted uses are vast," said Franck, who led the effort to postpone the vote until May 19. [Albany Times Union]
The property is now zoned rural-residential and Darley is seeking a change to institutional racetrack-related, the same as Oklahoma Training Track, Saratoga Race Course and Saratoga Gaming & Raceway. The proposed change would bring Darley’s farm more in line with surrounding properties.Thus, the Sheikh could save some money to put towards purchasing some more horses that won't win the Derby as long as he sticks to his failed strategy to do so.
By doing so, the owners also might apply for agricultural credits that could reduce the site’s assessment, and taxes, significantly.
"I’m not disagreeing that it should be changed," Accounts Commissioner and city Assessor John Franck said. "I want to know what the tax ramifications are first. That number is going to change dramatically if the zoning changes." [Saratogian]
- This must be a statistical quirk. With the Preakness shaping up as a far more interesting race, perhaps NBC can really make some hay with that telecast. And how absurdly overbet is that filly going to be? Count me in as being all in against her, especially since she's gone from sentimental favorite type to a horse with connections I love to root against.