This press release below is from a group called the New York State Horse Racing and Agriculture Industry Alliance (NYHR & AIA). OK, maybe that's not the smoothest acronym. But hey man, this is what I'm talkin about!!
New York State Horse Racing & Agriculture Industry Alliance Press Release
The New York State Equine Industry Economic Impact Study determined that the equine industry has a $4.2 billion effect on the state’s economy and generates 33,000 full-time jobs. Equine commerce also results in $187 million in state and local taxes for New York. The thousands of horse farms, training centers and riding stables doing business across the state preserve 1.3 million acres of open space. There are 157,500 horses in New York.
"When you look at the numbers, it's eye-opening," said Rick Violette Jr., president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. "The Study shows, in black and white, that every horse in New York is a potent job creator. The horse should be our state animal. But it comes as no surprise that the equine industry creates tens of thousands of jobs. There is so much that goes into the raising and training of a horse. It is a very labor-intensive business."
That's right. Please read the release yourself (and I've embedded the entire report that it is based on, as well as a ten minute video produced by the Alliance, at the bottom of the post....I'm just a wealth of information here today).....and sing it loud, sing it proud. The release also notes how handle at each of the three NYRA tracks has indeed increased since the introduction of VLT's at the Big A, in direct contrast to claims by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. This is exactly the kind of coordinated response to the attacks by the governor, and the hints by members of his administration that slots revenue should be reduced, that has been needed. And it came on the same day that the Times reported on the problem that the state's rising unemployment rate presents to Cuomo's national ambitions. So....yeah baby, right on.
New York's racing industry engenders a particularly strong work force. The Study demonstrates that there are 80 jobs for every 100 racehorses in New York. In addition, each individual racehorse has an economic impact of $92,100 on the state's bottom line.
State legislators, of both parties, got involved at a press event to release the report on Tuesday, with Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering Chairman John Bonacic (R) and the Assembly Racing Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow (D) on hand. Pretlow even took the opportunity to call out the Times on its ongoing hatchet job.
“Recently there was an attack on the racing industry, I guess first perpetrated, by the old gray lady, they call it the New York Times.....That caused a lot of people to look into racing, and I think that what had happened was extremely unfair. Because of so many people who have absolutely no knowledge of the industry, they have been trying now to take away from that industry.” [Politics on the Hudson]Also yesterday, I received copies of the new "emergency" rules on voiding claims of horses that are vanned of the track, and on longer lead times for medications that were recommended by the task force report on the Big A breakdowns. Those are also embedded below. NYS Racing and Wagering Board Emergency Rules on Voiding Claims
NYS Racing and Wagering Board Emergency Rule on Medications 10-11-12
A couple of comments here. For one thing, for what is supposed to be an "emergency," they sure seem to be taking their sweet time about this. The task force report was released on September 28. So it was two weeks before these rules were issued.....and the rules don't take effect until December 12. Some emergency. How many horses will perish in the interim? One might have thought that, just for appearance sake if nothing else, they would have made sure the rules were firmly in place in time for the opening of the inner track, the site of the breakdowns, which usually takes place around Dec 1.
And secondly, I'd like you to please take note of exactly who is issuing these rules. Check it out. It's the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. These rules are not from the New York Racing Association. They are not signed by Ellen McClain and they are not illustrated by Peb. It is the New York State Racing and Wagering Board that establishes the rules for medicating horses in this state. Perhaps that is something that all of the ignorant editorial writers who focused their ire at NYRA in the wake of the task force report for "failing to protect horses," were not aware of. Trainers and owners, playing, with very few exceptions, within the rules established by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, medicated their horses to the point where, according to the task force report, an accurate assessment of their fitness to race could not be made by NYRA veterinarians.
I initially praised the task force report for staying above the fray of politics, in part by refusing to, for the most part, name names, including those of the trainers, owners, and jockeys involved. Upon further reflection though, I think that the report actually played into the hands of the Cuomo administration and newspaper editorial boards' anti-NYRA agenda by failing to do so. There were two cases cited in which the jockeys testified that they knew on the track that there was a problem; yet they went out and rode the horses hard nonetheless. Why exactly aren't those jockeys named? I hate to say it because I love those guys - you can go back over seven years of posts on this blog and count the number of times I've criticized a rider for something even as relatively harmless as poor riding judgment on the fingers of one hand - but what those riders did (and you can look up who they are with a minimum of effort) were arguably more directly responsible for the death of those horses than anyone else involved. Yet, we see nor hear hardly any criticism of them at all.....just as the criticism of the owners and trainers responsible for medication and racing decisions is muted and considered only peripherally. If those horsemen had been named, then maybe we'd have seen editorials blasting them; calling for the suspension of their licenses. But instead, the report remains vague, and thereby allowed the administration and the editorial boards to heap blame nebulously onto "NYRA."
In any event, the fact is that the Racing and Wagering Board establishes the rules, and it is a state agency. Its chairman is appointed by the governor of New York State. So, wouldn't it be equally fair (or unfair) to say that it is Governor Andrew Cuomo who has failed to protect horses?