New York's harness horsemen respond to the ongoing negotiations regarding the future of NYCOTB in a press release (pdf file) from the Standardbred Owners Association of NY. [Non-pdf link here, thanks Chris.] They express gratitude to Greg Rayburn for for "providing us with a general briefing on the outline of the plan," and then proceed to rip it to shreds, starting with the fact that the harness owners and breeders "have been excluded from the development of this proposal and simply have not been at the negotiating table."
Other main points:
- Although the horsemen are due more than half of OTB's $22 million debt to the industry, the proposed transfer of the phone and internet wagering operation intended to compensate would be made to the racetracks, and "the horsemen would have absolutely no ownership interest in the entity nor any role in this new entity’s governance." The proposal, according to SOANY, even prods legislators to include language that would “provide maximum protection to the racetracks against claims by Breeders’ Fund and Standardbred Owners Association”
- The proposals contain provisions that have nothing to do with the immediate situation at hand and everything to do with increasing the tracks' bottom line, particularly one that would reduce race dates at harness tracks.
Less racing means less breeding, less horses, less mutual clerks, less farriers, less feedmen and more farm managers, grooms and trainers on the state’s unemployment lines. This proposal alone should raise the level of consciousness of every legislator as to how very little this entire package has to do with “helping racing” and everything to do with helping a handful of wealthy racetrack operators.Of course, it's a tragically sad comment on the state of racing and its dependence on slots that actual live racing is seen as a drag on the operations' bottom line.
Unmentioned in the release but, I'd imagine, another complaint of the horsemen is a push led by Jeff Gural to rescind a recent 1% reduction in the racinos' retention rate.
- Any provisions included in an eventual deal could become precedents for bailouts of other regional OTB's, thus further threatening the viability of harness racing in the state.
- Carl Paladino may want to take an axe to ruthlessly cut state spending, but the Daily News reports this morning that he's the one spending liberally on his army of campaign aides.
Veteran GOP consultant Ed Rollins said many campaigns try to limit their employee costs to 10% of their total spending. Paladino has more than doubled that rate.Give Paladino some credit though - it's Friday morning, and he hasn't put his foot in his mouth all week, since his shameful comments about disgusting gay parades over the weekend.
"What's happening is that there's all these consultants in there getting paid enormous sums of money and there's no money for voter contact," Rollins said.
The Paladino campaign this week unveiled its first TV ad since last month's primary. There also have been no mailers, Rollins said.