RSS Feed for this Blog

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bow Wow Wow

- Many thanks to reader Late Scratch for writing in with some kind words and questions about Exclesior's profit or non-profit status. Excelsior is basically saying that they will be both - non-profit on the racing side, and for-profit on the slots side. That's really all I know; since the details of the proposals have still not been released, we don't know exactly what they have in mind. But it has to be at least half fair for NYRA to call them for-profit.

Late Scratch also points out:

And, oh by the way, if you look into the Johnston family's previous holdings you may find some involvement with Florida (gulp!) puppy racing.
The commenter is referring to William and John Johnston, the father/son owners of Balmoral and Maywood Park respectively, and both involved with Excelsior. William's father, William H Johnston, Sr., operated Sportman's Park, and apparently was quite the flamboyant character. His name comes up quite frequently in this transcript of a 1950 Senate hearing on organized crime.

The elder Johnston also owned four dog tracks in Florida. And upon searching for William H Johnston, Jr., I read (gasp!) on the US Trotting Association site that he is officer-director of four dog racing plants in Florida.

My extensive Googling, at which I'm pretty proficient if I do say so myself, turned up nothing else about Jr. being an officer of any dog tracks, and I would almost believe that the USTA biographer got the two men confused. But it doesn't really matter. Calling Excelsior a dog track operator was a mischaracterization in any event, and I've harped on it because it really typifies for me the way Empire has twisted the facts throughout the process.

Two separate Empire spokespeople - one of them Jeff Perlee - used the phrase in what was obviously a planned campaign to create a negative perception of the winning bidder. Even if Johnston does have ties to dog tracks, then if anything it just highlights Empire's hypocrisy given that its partner Delaware North does operate dog tracks. We've mention Wheeling Park in West Virginia. An anonymous reader asks (and yes, it's all true):
Don't they own Southland Park in Arkansas, Phoenix Greyhound Park in Arizona, Daytona Beach Kennel Club in Florida and used to race dogs at Arizona's Apache Greyhound Park?

Come to think of it, didn't Magna operate Multnomah Greyhound Park in Oregon until they closed it?