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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ad Hoc Committee Report Due Wednesday

- The Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, February 21 at 11 AM, at which time it will release its Report, which will contain the details of the selection process by which they tabbed Excelsior as their non-binding selection to be the next franchise holder. The meeting will take place in midtown Manhattan and Albany via teleconference.

The long-awaited release of the report comes just 10 1/2 months before the scheduled expiration of NYRA's tenure, and amidst speculation that its findings will be cast aside by the Spitzer Administration. Matt Hegarty, writing in the Daily Racing Form, reports on the possibility that the delays in the process, caused by NYRA's bankruptcy case and the complexity of rewriting the racing law to allow a new franchise holder to take over, could lead to a one year extension of NYRA's tenure.

Oh yeah, remember that thing about changing the racing laws? With all of the drama that has transpired since the Committee made its recommendation last fall, that little detail seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle of administrations and investigations. Making state law more accommodative to successfully running the tracks, or the lack thereof, were the key assumptions upon which the bidders were to base their proposals. Exactly how much they did is one of the things we'll hopefully learn on Wednesday. In any event, are we to believe that something that Albany has not been able to tackle substantively for 20+ years will be resolved in 10 months?

Hegarty (who apparently was less successful than the Daily News' Jerry Bossert in getting Spitzer's office to return phone calls) also reports that the latest delay in NYRA's bankruptcy court date to apply for funding from GE Capital was due to a request by the association so that it could pursue those rumored settlement talks over the land issue. That session is now scheduled for February 22.

It was unclear Friday if NYRA has had any discussions with the state, although NYRA's senior vice president, Bill Nader, said earlier in the week that "we're always open to talking."
Tom Precious reports on that the state has complicated NYRA's funding bid with the governor's proposal, included in his budget, to provide the association with $23 million to get through the rest of the year. Racing industry insiders say the state is trying to strengthen its overall case by including the bailout money for NYRA.

1 Comment:

Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan, thanks for the sitrep on the franchise. Ah, yes, reforming the racing and wagering laws, that minor detail which everybody seems to overlook: Who wants this thing unless it is accompanied by meaningful reform? The pols are still playing the "we'll do NYRA this great favor- before sticking the knife in- by providing $23 mill to get through the year" game instead of getting out of the way of the Big A VLT's and allowing NYRA to get back in the black as all agreed several years ago. Am looking forward to finally seeing the Ad Hoc Committee Report with details of the bids and bidders, and AHC evaluations thereof.