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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

This is getting serious.

UPDATE - This is the Notice To NYRA Horsemen. (PDF file, hat tip to Bennett Liebman at Albany Law School)


Anonymous said...

Vernon and Tioga are toast as well....

Racing And Wagering Woes
February 6, 2008 at 4:34 pm by James M. Odato
Troubles broke out in threes today on the turf of New York’s racing and wagering beat.

1)The Mohawk tribal leaders today complained that Empire Resorts is breaching its deal with the tribe to build a casino at Monticello Raceway in the Catskills.

2) The owner of two upstate harness tracks is planning to close the tracks - Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs.

3) And the New York Racing Association is telling employees to prepare for a lay offs if the state can’t agree to extend NYRA’s rights to run thoroughbred races at Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct.

On the Mohawk issue, Empire wants to move the Monticello Raceway and its video lottery terminal operation at the track to the once-grand Concord Hotel property to build a destination resort with horse racing, slot-like gambling and golf courses. The Mohawks don’t like the sound of it.

Jeff Gural says he’s losing millions of dollars on Vernon and Tioga and is upset that the Assembly won’t pass a bill to increase the fees kept by VLT operators. He will close the tracks and the video slot parlors in the next few days, he says.

And NYRA says it doesn’t have the cash to keep running racing at Aqueduct and will lay people off starting on Feb. 14, the day after its short-term franchise extension is set to expire. Legislative staffers and representatives of Gov. Eliot Spitzer are working on a long-term extension proposal but NYRA has been unhappy with components of it.

Anonymous said...

OK, Joe, the ball is in your court baby, don't flub it. This poker game now has everybody "all in" and Spitzer/Silver/ NYRA/ The Media et al have "called" Joe. No matter what happens, who will really be surprised when Joe's office rushes to be first with the franchise deal announcement and isn't it wonderful how we saved the day for Saratoga and NY racing?!/S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

I think you are right. Bruno knows when to hold'em and when to fold 'em.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see NYRA furlough their rank and file employees. Do you think management will be taking reductions in their compensation? Maybe after they take a lump sum advance.

Lest anyone forgot, in the middle of bankruptcy NYRA sought approval to give their executives a three percent raise back in June 2007. See:

And you wonder how racing got in this position?

Anonymous said...

A 3% annual raise for a NYRA exec is less than 1 day's bribe money for Bruno.

Alan Mann said...

Green Mtn - I get these mixed signals from you on Senator Joe my friend. Sometimes you're on his case, other times you're defending him against me and the liberal media. What's the deal?

Alan Mann said...

According to a draft letter to NYRA employees, "all other employees in the executive, administrative, racing, and mutuel offices will be placed on a four-day work-week with a corresponding 20% reduction in salary."

Anonymous said...

Alan: Much as I admire Joe Bruno's longevity and his political and legislative craftsmanship, I am not just another blind partisan water carrier. My interest in the franchise issue is paramount and so when Sen Bruno acts to move the franchise ball ahead I commend him, and when he stonewalls for no apparent reason, and leaves the NY racing industry in the lurch, then he deserves to be pressured to act. If we all sit back without demanding accountability, then nothing will happen. I think the Senator is under a lot more pressure to act on the franchise due to the urging of many of his key long-time supporters rather than the pressure from his political opponents. Our common goal- you and me- is merely to resolve the issue and not let NYRA and the NY horsemen twist in the wind any longer. NY racing is more important to me than any politician. And as I think is about to be demonstrated, I have been confident all along that Joe Bruno would never let the NY racing franchise be his undoing with his key Saratoga County supporters! /S/Green Mtn Punter