The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association is committed to representing the interests of owners and trainers at the New York Racing Association tracks. NYTHA recognizes that its constituents are the lifeblood of the racing industry in New York and focuses its efforts on doing what is best for New York horsemen.
NY Daily News Editorial:Racing Association must not extort new bailout from Taxpayers
The folks who run the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga horse tracks must take New York taxpayers for a bunch of chumps.
Claiming to be broke, the New York Racing Association wants to shake down taxpayers for a second huge bailout in two years.
Either the state forks over $30 million by June, President Charles Hayward recently told the Daily News, or NYRA will cancel the Belmont Stakes, third leg of the Triple Crown.
Meanwhile, these same arm-twisters are brazenly stonewalling an audit by Controller Tom DiNapoli – who’s understandably curious about what happened to the $105 million NYRA glommed from the state Treasury last year.
Gov. Paterson and the Legislature cannot succumb to such extortion tactics. They should tell NYRA to get lost. If that means the end of the Belmont Stakes, a 105-year tradition, so be it.
For the state to waste even more tax dollars propping up this dying enterprise would be a travesty – a classic case of a compulsive gambler chasing losses.
NYRA’s claim to be immune from state scrutiny under some court decision is pure horse manure. Chairman Steven Duncker signed a contract just last year clearly stating that the controller and other state officials "shall have access" to NYRA’s financial records. Evidently, Duncker is not a man of his word.
Legalities aside, though, NYRA is morally bound to open its books – having long since morphed from a private outfit to a ward of the state and leech on the public fisc.
Until NYRA cooperates with DiNapoli – and fully accounts for every dime of government money already received – it should forfeit all rights under last year’s deal, including its cut of future revenues from video slots to be installed at Aqueduct.
As for any further handouts, Paterson and the Legislature should tell the horsy set to forget about it. Albany’s cash window is closed.
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Jamaica, NY 11417