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Sunday, April 18, 2010

OTB to State: Nevermind!

Not only is NYC OTB not shutting down, they are staying open for at least another year, setting forth on The Path Forward, as articulated in a press release...or, should I say, a "reference guide" released by its public relations outfit on Saturday. Under this Path, OTB will shut 2/3rds of its parlors, install betting terminals in bars, sell of much of its contentious fleet of vehicles, and "implement deep cuts in management." Whatsmore, whaddya know, forget about that cut in its statutory payments; instead it will "defer" payments based on its handle from out-of-state simulcasts.

“I can’t quantify at this point the amount of pain that we’ll be inflicting on the [racing] industry,” Frucher said. “There will be pain. You can’t pay what you don’t have.” [Thoroughbred Times]
OK, so they'll be some pain. Buit all of this will be accomplished with just a minor tweak from the dysfunctional state legislature.
NYC OTB’s Path Forward only requires one piece of immediate, interim legislation which is necessary to protect our hard-working employees. This legislation is needed to authorize early retirement incentives for NYC OTB employees, at no cost to the State or taxpayer, to facilitate headcount reduction while converting to a technology-based model.
But wait, I don't understand. How do you go, seemingly overnight, from 'Ohmygod, we're broke, we're desperate, we have to close, we need to cut our mandated payments otherwise 1300 people will lose their jobs, NYRA will be doomed, harness tracks will be devastated" to basically submitting to most of the long-stated demands and continuing on as if nothing happened? It's like a big nevermind. So what, that was all bullshit to try and save high-paying political patronage jobs and squeeze the horsemen and racetracks out of some dough? Or a big PR stunt?
"They cried poverty one week and the next week they say they can keep their doors open for another year?" said Austin Shafran, spokesman for the state Senate's Democratic majority. "This demonstrates an overwhelming need for an honest and clear accounting of OTB's finances and operations before any taxpayer dollars spent." [Associated Press]
Perhaps the Inspector General should have a look at this farce once he's done with the AEG fiasco.


JMurphy said...

It's an old question...

How could an organization that charges 7% over/above the regular takeout be broke?

The_Knight_Sky said...

An even more pressing concern is...

Why does any buffoon horseplayer in New York City wants to pay an additional 7% off every winning ticket for this kind of stupidity?

El Angelo said...

I'm too excited about the Racing Form's new masthead logo to care about OTB.

Anonymous said...

Hey Alan, the Derby is in 12 days. Can we chill out on the NYRA OTB talk and get back to some handicapping. I mean, it is your blog, but help a brother out.

ljk said...

I'm with El Angelo. All my DRF logowear is now useless!

ballyfager said...

I'm with El Angelo. Why did they bother to change their masthead and why oh why do they think anybody cares.

Anonymous said...

Anyone like a horse in the Derby not named Eskereya (spelled it right, I think!), Lookin @ Lucky or Candy?

Endorsement? American Lion? Setsuko?

Oh wait, the fast closing runner up in the SA Anita can't get into the race due to stupid money system.

Need to go to point system ASAP, money should not matter, quality faced should. A placing in a G1 shoudl be worth more than winning a gaming enhanced G3.

This has festered for a few years, the way racing moves the Triple Crown committee (whomever that is) will begin to recognize there is a problem and appoint a panel to study the implications in another ten years or so.

Anonymous said...

eskendereya,e-s-k-e-n-d-e-r-e-y-a, eskendereya.

meaning, alt. spelling for port city alexandria.

Anonymous said...

is it just me or are the derby gods going to prohibit a horse with such a tough name to say and spell from winning?

Anonymous said...

Simple point system;

G1: 16-8-4-2-1
G2: 8-4-2-1
G3: 4-2-1

Double the points for 3yo colt races run on real dirt at one mile or over.

Figured I would save the powers that be all those consulting fees for their future study.

Anonymous said...

Your point system is noble, but there would be just as much controversy if not more.

The problem is that every dumb yokel wants to enter their horse in the Derby even if he has no business being in the race. As a result, you will never get the 20 best horses, and horses like Dynever, Unshaded, Rock Hard Ten, etc will always get left out. Not sure we've every had a winner not make the field though. But that's pure conjecture. jp from sd.

Jaun Valdez said...

Can I get 10-1 on Sidney's Candy? I feel like he's been painted as a stone speedball. Connections will have Line of David carving fractions, and Sidney sitting a few lengths off, ready to close like a monster.

Anonymous said...

Actually I believe the point system would mitigate the controversy. The problem arises when a G3 race offers a huge purse that is greater than some G1 races, especially so when it is a 2yo race.

I too doubt we have lost any winners due to the cap, but we could have.

Canonero II would not have made the race if the field was limited to twenty and Mine That Bird would not have made it without a few late defections (but in truth neither would have likely qualified under the points system either).

Now Pletcher might run his filly keeping someone else out, but in this case the filly has more of a right to be in the gate than whomever she bumps, in all liklihood.

jk said...

I stand by my original prediction, Devils in 7!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Alan, a big PR stunt and the way to hold on to the OTB sinecure for a while longer....seems the whole country- Fed-State-Local- is operating in this mode from what I can see. Kick the can down the road.....And: Kick the can day there is no more road. NY is an extreme example as in most things. Our beloved NY racing is not immune to this out-of-joint M.O. Just stranger than usual, uncharted territory, everything in flux, nothing secure except....Voila! OTB! /S/greenmtnpunter

alan said...

>>I stand by my original prediction, Devils in 7!!

Hmmm, don't know about that. I think even we could have beaten those guys.