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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Miffed in Monticello

State Senator John Bonacic issued a press release regarding the proposal being discussed in the Assembly, which I reported here on Wednesday, to direct monies from racinos, including the Monticello track which is located in his district, to bail out NYC OTB.

A proposal currently being discussed in Albany will stop payments to Monticello in the amount of approximately $2 million a year. Monticello is already struggling. “If this plan were enacted, it would be a crystal clear example of New York City Democrats, who control State government, not caring about anyone but themselves. Attempting to take millions of dollars from the Catskills economy, to pay for their New York City based OTB operation, is something those of us who represent race tracks - particularly Yonkers and Monticello, must fight,” Bonacic said.
The partisan politics in the GOP Senator's statement aside, Monticello would certainly seem to be the unlikeliest and most ill-equipped of all the state's racinos to have its resources directed toward bailing out OTB. Representative Pretlow is well-aware of that, and acknowledged so in the plan he suggested last month when he singled the track out for more accelerated payments than the others. In addition, NYC OTB owes Monticello some $4.4 million according to the former's bankruptcy filing.

Yonkers, which would take a bigger hit under the plan being considered, is owed over $18 million.

- Charlie Hayward told the Albany Times Union's Tim Wilkin: "Listen, I love Monmouth Park, it's one of my favorite tracks....But it's not Saratoga."

No, it's not (though it does have a beach just a short drive away). Hayward said he's not concerned about Monmouth's purse-enhanced meet adversely effecting the Spa, but that it could effect Belmont, which opens on April 30. Monmouth will open on May 22, offering 12 race cards Friday through Sunday.

Governor Paterson, during an impromptu press conference to discuss the (poor) state of the budget negotiations, addressed the Aqueduct racino situation. "We're putting together a process which we think will be a lot faster." And he said that with a straight face. Of course, if it's any slower (or even the same speed), Paterson will already be an ex-governor by the time it's over (even if he makes it to the end of his term).
"We're using the general procurement rules that we would use for any type of bidding, except for the fact that the leaders are not bound by that procurement process. [ed note: Oh man!] Only the governor is. So what I will do....I will make my first proposal to the leaders, of whichever one of the companies meets the highest test of our procurement process."
That doesn't really sound all that different from the last round, does it? Maybe they should just let Yolanda Vega pick the winner out of the Powerball guy's hat. Or from his stomach. Or maybe they could take a share of those new millionaire's winnings to help bail out OTB.

I was really thrilled to see that going on at Aqueduct on Saturday....just great to see that photo of the lucky winners standing in front of the empty grandstand (even on Wood day with its announced crowd of over 8,000). If someone sees that picture along with the story, do you think they'd be more likely to buy a lottery ticket or go to the track?