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New York Working On NYRA Loan After Threat Of Shutdown

 

New York Gov. David Paterson Saturday said that he "intends to unveil a loan plan to bolster the New York Racing Association in the next few days," according to James Odato of the Albany TIMES UNION. Paterson's office is working on a deal to loan NYRA up to $25M, money the organization "would pay back either from funds it eventually gets from a racino operator or from its cut of racino revenues." Paterson said, "I would ask NYRA and the supporters of thoroughbred racing around the state to just take a deep breath for a couple of days and I'm going to come out with a plan I think will help." Paterson's comments came in response to NYRA's announcement on Friday that "it would have to close racing as soon as June 9 and lay off up to 1,400 employees because of cash flow problems" (Albany TIMES UNION, 5/23). The TIMES UNION's Odato noted it is "unclear if the layoff notices and threats to let the tracks go dark is a NYRA strategy to pressure the state to move on the loans." N.Y. Racing & Wagering Board spokesperson Joseph Mahoney said that NYRA is "supposed to get clearance to close down racing and the association has not sought board approvals to change racing dates" (Albany TIMES UNION, 5/22). NYRA has said that it needs $17M "as a stopgap to get through the next few months" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22). BLOODHORSE.com's Tom Precious cited legislative sources as saying that a deal "could be done in time for passage when lawmakers return to Albany" today. A source said, "We're going to have to do something for NYRA" (BLOODHORSE.com, 5/21).

MILLION DOLLAR BABY: In Newark, Tom Luicci reported Monmouth Park's "Million Dollar Meet" opened Saturday with a "robust crowd of 17,903 welcoming back thoroughbred racing to the Jersey Shore." Attendance was up 74% from last year's opening-day crowd of 10,292. Monmouth VP & GM Bob Kulina: "I said if we got over 15,000 that would be a big number. To get almost 18,000, that’s a huge number." Luicci noted the 13-race card produced a total handle of nearly $9.36M, "more than double last year's" opening-day total of $4.3M. NJSEA President & CEO Dennis Robinson said, "Really, it has exceeded my expectations, to be quite honest with you. I had high expectations, but this exceeded them" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 5/23). Track officials noted that a total of $7.05M was wagered yesterday, up 126% from the second day of last year's meet. Monmouth's big-money experiment "has been well received by virtually everyone involved" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/24).

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