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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Back to Belmont

We're down at my mom's house in Florida for a long weekend....and with my mom. And two of the kids. Not one of those romantic vacations, but sure is nice and sunny and hot here. And the wireless modem is zapped, so don't know how much I'll be posting for the next few days....but will be back in time to try and decipher next weekend's Derby.

Friday was the first day of the post-NYC OTB era at Belmont Park, and NYRA issued a press release to trumpet an opening day crowd of just under 6,000, helped no doubt by the return of Long Island Railroad service with the financial assistance of NYRA.

The LIRR eliminated Belmont stops last year to contend with budget shortfalls. It cost $112,000 to operate the service in 2009. An NYRA spokesman declined to say how much it is paying the LIRR for the service, which runs to July 17. [Wall St Journal]
A prudent move no doubt by the association as it continues to nimbly adapt to the new era. They've also revamped the third floor food court, adding booze, new TVs, and betting machines.

As much as I'm excited about Belmont, and the (hopefully) imminent return of the big stables, I'm kinda sorry to see Keeneland end. Part of that is of course that I had a great meet there (another winner picked on the blog yesterday - Looks Purrfect [$12.60]). But in any event, I find the races there to be fascinating betting contests, with all kinds of different angles to explore, and with easily targeted favorites to beat; specifically those who take money off of performances on different surfaces. So, a fond farewell until the fall.

- So it took the hot-button issue of jobs and outsourcing to prompt Governor Guomo to finally have a word about NYRA. He probably had to ask his aides just how to address his letter to. But when he got the name Charlie Hayward, he fired off a curt and direct missive regarding NYRA's plans to outsource telephone wagering operators to a company in Oregon (this despite the fact that NYRA made it clear in their original announcement that no local jobs would be lost).
It is my understanding that the New York Racing Association (NYRA) has entered into a contract to conduct NYRA's telephone wagering from a facility located in Oregon. NYRA's decision to locate these activities and the potential jobs out of State is extremely troubling given the extraordinary investment New York State has made to maintain NYRA's viability over the years.

My top priority as Governor is to create jobs in New York State. As such, I expect you to do everything possible to ensure that these telephone wagering activities are conducted within New York State by New York State taxpayers. The Empire State Development Corporation stands ready to help you to identify options for keeping these jobs within the State.

I would ask your full cooperation in this effort and look forward to a prompt response.
Of course, the governor doesn't acknowledge the fact that any money that the State made to assist NYRA in its troubles over the last few years has helped to save thousands of jobs, and comprises a mere pittance compared to the money NYRA's races contribute, both directly and indirectly, to the state. Typical ignorant political bluster at an always easy target. I'll link to Hayward's response here without any further comment at this time, as we're off to the beach. Best of luck in all of your wagering endeavors and have a great day.


Anonymous said...

I'll miss watching the Keeneland starting gate crew. What a class act they put on.

steve in nc said...

Thanks for clearing up the NYRA telebet situation. I was wondering what had happened.

Although I'll miss Joe, Diana and a few of the other operators, I have to say that many of them were either unpleasant, had difficult accents or spoke too quickly to understand. The new service is fast, clear and much much better.

The racing also looks better on today's card, despite a few of the 3-legged races I was so sick of seeing. Nice to see some promising young horses and a few good older ones in the stake, which should be a good one despite the small field.

Figless said...

Reading the article it seems no one lost their jobs, but I am disappointed that nyra could not find an economical way to keep these jobs in NY, but if the unions are making it too expensive to keep these jobs in NY then NYRA is not to blame.