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Thursday, February 07, 2008

NYRA Not Feeling It....Yet

- Got home from another disappointing Rangers game - oh man - and went online, half-expecting to read of a settlement; but it's not to be. And what the heck was I thinking, anyway? Matt Hegarty, who has maintained a more cautious tack on the possibilities of a settlement, reports that Silver's staff had not signed off on the agreement, and officials at NYRA said the agreement contained several provisions that the association would not accept. Silver told Reuters: "Until there is a deal put forward that is spelled out clearly, there won't be a deal."

Hegarty writes that NYRA objects to several provisions, including the fact that the reconstituted board will require a supermajority vote for all decisions. NYRA's communications director John Lee told Newsday: "We're not optimistic. We're not feeling it."

But NYRA may be feeling something very soon. Senator Bruno outlined the framework of the deal to the press, and Charles Hayward said: "The senator has a propensity to negotiate in the press, and in a matter as delicate as this, I don't think that's a good strategy." [DRF] But in fact, it just may be. If the three politicians come to an agreement, NYRA could find that their spin is quickly spinning out of control. Once Bruno can stand with the other two behind the terms of a deal, perhaps grazing the governor on the cheek with a playful right jab, then the focus shifts squarely to the New York Racing Association. And, by indeed making his positions known in public all along, the Senate Majority Leader can point to all the concessions he's made from his original position (even though that position was absurd), and cast himself as the reasonable one.

In fact, he's already started to do just that.

"I don't want these scare tactics to continue....People ought to be weighing in, in the spirit of compromise, getting things done. That's how government works. Not by threats, not by intimidation." [Newsday]
NYRA could soon find itself getting stared down by the three politicians, and I don't believe it would fare well in the court of public opinion if they shut down the track over issues that are perceived as selfish or not substantive.

- No slots for Belmont. And the Reuters article reports that Bruno mentioned Capital Play and SL Green as possible operators of the Aqueduct racino. The latter is a real estate company that was a partner in Empire Racing. So a remnant of the Empire lives on...

Tom Precious reports in Bloodhorse that the Jockey's Guild was in town, pitching a plan to provide new ways to help pay for pensions, health insurance, and other benefits, as well as a change in mount fees for jockeys at NYRA.

[Update: And so much for the threatened closure of NYC-OTB this June spurring a timely look at consolidating OTB with NYRA:
Bruno relented in his demand for a new structure for off-track betting operations, leaving that to a new commission that will make recommendations in May 2009. [Albany Times-Union]
Oh man....]

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Your last minute update provided perhaps the worst news of the day vis-a-vis the franchise: Bruno says they will have to punt the OTB's down the field to May 2009, to another hack-filled commission. Oh, man, is right. Now, does anyone begin to have a handle on which major issues identified by Friends of NY Racing, the Ad Hoc Committee (remember those guys?) and the various bidders will remain unresolved after the amended MOU is signed by the Triumverate and NYRA? Hopefully Alan will tackle this assignment when the announcement is finally made. We started out with high hopes by discussing the major structural reforms required in the NY racing business model, inlcuding reform of antiquated NY state racing and wagering laws, and now 2 or 3 years later, and nearly 6 weeks following the franchise expiration, we find ourselves hoping for anything that lets NY racing survive another day. Can't we demand more than that? What is the plan beyond the MOU? /S/Green Mtn Punter.