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Thursday, May 20, 2010


With no tangible progress on getting the money they're due from Albany, NYRA has sent WARN letters to its employees, notifying them of a possible mass layoff in 60 days.

The notices, required under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, provide a two-month advance word to employees possibly affected by layoffs. [Bloodhorse]
That doesn't mean that racing will continue for 60 days; NYRA would suspend operations should its cash balance dip below $5 million. Nobody has denied the idea that that could come after Belmont Stakes day. (And it hasn't been a good week on that front either with the defection of a couple of live contenders.)

Tom Precious' report contains the usual about a deal being worked on, this time to be ready for legislators when they return from their well-earned long weekend on May 24.
“We’re going to have to do something for NYRA," a source involved in the talks said.
No shit, Jack. I wrote about the upstate Assemblyman who is upset about the parks yesterday, and today this in the Albany Business Review:
“I am outraged that the governor is singling out parks as a bargaining chit, while giving special consideration to NYRA’s financial troubles,” said Robin Dropkin, executive director of New York State Parks & Trails, an advocacy groups.
Well, look, Robin Dropkin and Assemblyman Frank Skartados (D-Milton). As I wrote yesterday, nobody wants to see these parks closed. The New York State park system is a treasure; it's a big part of what makes this state so cool. And everyone, including Governor David Paterson, knows it should be preserved and enhanced, not shrunk.

Let's look at the big picture and reality here, can we? The governor is doing everything he can to close a budget in conjuntion with a legislature that is more interested in their own political fates; it rejects totally reasonable proposals like this one, which could, in its original form, have netted the state some $1 billion a year. The parks, unfortunately, have become part of the game; but for the relatively minimal $6 million in cuts involved, he sure seems to have struck a nerve and gotten his moneys worth. He's doing his job (and when's the last time you read a thing about the domestic violence and Yankees tickets scandals?) I can guarantee you that for that amount of money, it's absolutely going to be restored when the budget is passed, which will probably be at a time when much of this coming summer still lies ahead (right?).

So don't get your underwear in a fucking bundle here. NYRA gets "special consideration," you say? If the parks got the kind of consideration NYRA gets, they'd all have been turned into fucking Costcos long ago.


Steve Zorn said...

It's 10 pm. Do you know where your state senator is, or for that matter who your state senator is? By now I have absolutely no confidence that a deal will get done in the two or three business days next week before the Leg goes off on its Memorial Day break. (Maybe they should all take a junket down to Monmouth, which should be humming.)

Guess I should look for races for all my horses before June 6th.

Anonymous said...

This November and the next November, and the one after, that can't come soon enough to vote to get this group of greedy and corrupt, bungling misfits out of office. I don't believe I am alone. It is just incomprehensible how it has come to this. I just spoke with people up in Canada. We shipped our mare up there to be bred. The report that Woodbine is thriving. The purses are huge. It has a casino there, and they've noticed that on racing days, Woodbine and the casino do even better attendence-wise. Some major U.S. racing people have recognized the opportunity, and have been shipping and racing their stock up there.

Only in New York can we say, 9 years and counting to get a casino up and running. What a debacle!

Anonymous said...

Where the heck is Finger Lakes going to stall all these NY Breds once Belmont shuts down?

Figless Anon said...

It will be an interesting case study to compare MTH simulcast handle on Saturday to inferior cards at BEL, CD and HOL.

Opening Day at Mth, suspect on track attendance and handle should far exceed those other tracks, but which card will the simulcast patrons concentrate on?

Figless Anon said...

The level of incompentance continues to amaze, this from the NY Post;

One ray of sunshine for NYRA is that New York City OTB will not take bets on the Monmouth races, according to N.Y. State Racing and Wagering Board spokesman Joe Mahoney, who said NYC OTB did not apply to the board to put Monmouth on its schedule.

jk said...

This NY Times article explains where all of the State's money is going to. NYRA does not have the luxury of unionized State employees, which is the group the politicians answer to first and foremost.

Payback Time
Padded Pensions Add to New York Fiscal Woes
Published: May 20, 2010

In Yonkers, more than 100 retired police officers and firefighters are collecting pensions greater than their pay when they were working. One of the youngest, Hugo Tassone, retired at 44 with a base pay of about $74,000 a year. His pension is now $101,333 a year.

El Angelo said...

I loved that article. Meanwhile, NY judges haven't gotten a raise in 2 decades.

Alan Mann said...

I loved when the guy who retired at 44 with a $101,000 a year pension (free of state and local tax) is complaining about inflation eating away at his benefits. We should all have his problem

Anonymous said...

What an idiot i was to go into the privated sector.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't NYRA go into bankruptcy again instead of shutting down? It worked for them before,they were able to have the Saratgoa meet. Aand it worked for OTB, too.

ljk said...

Think this MTH experiment will be a real boon for the NY breeding industry. All the open races will fill at MTH and NYRA will be left with 9 state bred races per day.

Anonymous said...

I agree, NYRA should go back into bankruptcy again. This way the judge can demand the State pay NYRA the money it is due.

steve in nc said...

Just got ol' Alex Waldrop's e-mail from NTRA. Belmont only gets a mention after lots of chat about the exciting buzz about Monmouth. No mention of the pickle NRYA's in. Glad they can get me 5% off on a tractor. What a (bad) joke.

Here 'tis:

Comings and Goings…

Earlier this week, I published an open letter to the industry on page four of the Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN). The letter
described the our industry’s response to Congress, which recently sought information on progress in areas such as model rules,
participation in the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance, uniform medication guidelines and penalties and injury reporting.
Click here to view the piece in TDN and let me know your thoughts.

Also, good luck to Monmouth Park and its participating horsemen as they embark Saturday on a 50-day, $50 million meeting.
Referred to as the “Elite Summer Meeting”, the meet has attracted a great deal of publicity and interest as well as a novel
presenting sponsorship from Izod. In terms of creating advance interest and buzz, this experiment has already paid dividends.
Check out a terrific Blog from the NTRA’s Eric Wing on the Monmouth meeting.

Lastly, congratulations should be extended to the connections of Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky and the staff and management
of Pimlico Race Course, which reversed some negative trends from a year ago to post terrific numbers around this year’s second
jewel of the Triple Crown. Although the Belmont Stakes will be contested without Lookin At Lucky and Kentucky Derby winner
Super Saver, the third jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown remains a terrific test of speed and stamina. And year in and year
out, the Belmont Stakes undercard is among the most compelling and contentious of the year.

Good luck at the races.

NTRA | 2525 Harrodsburg Road | 4th Floor | Lexington, KY 40504 | US

Alan Mann said...

steve - And Eric Wing, in his blog, says that we should all be betting Monmouth because they deserve the support. "Give Monmouth executives credit for having the guts to try something new," he writes. It smacks more of a desperate move to me, and Steve Crist says that it won't work.

Figless Anon said...

Considering NYRA is probably the largest remaining dues paying member of the soon to be extinct NTRA (they should quit too) if I were Hayward I would be pissed.

As for betting on Mth, ironically I will have to travel to Belmont to do so.

If I do bet on Mth races, it will be because the races are interesting not out of some duty to support them for trying something new.

Anonymous said...

In addition to Alan, sounds like a helluva lot of folks have run out of patience with the critics bashing NY racing. I especially liked the one looking somewhat enviously at Woodbine as a thriving enterprise, and then frustrated by the past 9 years in NY.

Is the Gov finally going to insist on the bridge loan? He likes the positive media face time in presenting the August Belmont Cup to the Belmont winner and the Man O'War Cup to the Travers winner, doesn't he? How about having the Aqueduct VLT's up and running in 90 days? /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

If you do the math ($1M per day estimated over 8.5 years) it is amazing to see that the failure to install the VLTS in a timely fashion has cost the state about $3 BILLION to date, about one third of the current budget deficit.

I would like to see someone ask Sheldon Silver, who is the only party that has been in office this entire period but is slimy enough to stay out of the limelight on this issue, how he could let that happen?