Nah, haven't been posting much I know, been busy with tons of music (which I'll have to catch up on here, maybe this weekend when we're on Fire Island where there's absolutely nothing to do) and other summer events in and around the city. Besides, it's the usual summer doldrums before Saratoga and Del Mar as far as racing goes.....even doldrum-ier this year given the possibly record-breaking heat.
So, catching up a bit on NYC OTB....James Odato wrote of outrage and investigations in the Assembly over the hire, at $125,000 a month, of Greg Rayburn to run NYC OTB. And the board of OTB is also steaming, particularly over what they perceive to be some conflict of interest involving NYRA.
Rayburn worked with Brian Rosen, NYRA's bankruptcy lawyer -- which is either a potential conflict or something that presents the appearance of one, Newman said.....NYRA has desires on some of the OTB's core assets -- including the highly valuable Internet and telephone betting units -- and Rayburn's plan for the OTB could include mergers or sell-offs.OK, first of all, I don't have a problem with the guy's salary....as long as he produces results of course. As I've said, the situation is a massive train wreck in need of expert help, as expensive as it might be. And if he stays for six months and helps to craft a solution acceptable and beneficial to
Newman wonders if NYRA had a hand in Rayburn's candidacy. NYRA has refused to answer questions about Rayburn, although it has been publicly supportive of his hiring. [Times Union]
I also don't particularly care if NYRA did indeed have some influence on his hiring. The industry which supplies the product has been screwed over so badly by OTB (and not just NYC OTB), that it seems fitting and altogether appropriate for it to be intimately involved in any restructuring. NYRA, said by Odato to have not commented on Rayburn, did so subsequently in the form of an interview with Charlie Hayward by Paul Post of the Saratogian.
“It appears that Mr. Rayburn is serious about attacking the significant operating and financial issues of New York City OTB that have been ignored for years.....New York City OTB is very important to the racing industry in New York and across the country. I assume that all industry participants will be willing to endure some pain to get this entity back on track. NYRA stands ready to assist Mr. Rayburn in any way that he deems appropriate.” [Saratogian]That's the kind of stiff, scripted-sounding statement that might lead one to believe that the critics have a point. I imagine that the harness guys might be a little wary hearing him talk about enduring pain. They're going to want to get their two cents in too, and they're not going to give up easily on matters such as dark day and maintenance of effort payments, both of which will surely be targeted for elimination, without a fight.
- Big fields at Saratoga for opening day. I've had ample say about what I think about the extended meet, and that's it for the negativity; time for the racing. I know I must be cranky about the subject because Paul Morose echoed my sentiments completely. But races like this one can make one forget that the meet is too.....well, maybe a tad overextended!
- A reader commented on the last post: Hard to believe but rockaway has better fish tacos! And the Head Chef recently wrote about the subject of his/her affection on Grapes and Greens.