Daily News Archive
Daily News Subscription
2 New Groups Bid For New York Franchise
In the US, 2 new groups "have joined the process to try to win the state thoroughbred racetrack franchise now held by the New York Racing Association," reported bloodhorse.com. Governor Eliot Spitzer released the names of 6 groups (4 who previously bid for the franchise & 2 new companies) "that will be part of the next phase of the on-going battle among some of the industry's elite players to become the new operator of Aqueduct, Belmont & Saratoga racetracks" (when the current NYRA licence expires on December 31). The 2 new companies are Catskill Off-Track Betting Corp ("considered a long-shot by industry insiders, but which could merge with one of the other bidding groups") & Thoroughbred Racing NY (whose members were "represented by influential lobbyist Sid Davidoff" & include Las Vegas casino developer Steve Wynn, New York real estate investor Steve Roth & California developer Bronson Companies). Spitzer recently confirmed "he did not feel obligated to follow a non-binding recommendation by a state panel (created before he became governor) which tapped Excelsior Racing Associates (whose partners include NY Yankees executive Steve Swindal & casino developer Richard Fields) as its choice to run racing in the state". Also bidding are Empire Racing Associates (a consortium of NY horsemen, Magna Entertainment, Churchill Downs, Delaware North, Woodbine & others), NYRA (the current franchisee "which has had numerous run-ins with Spitzer over the years") & Australian firm Capital Play (headed by Karl O'Farrell). Spitzer said the recent bidding process "will serve as a starting point for a new public process that will feature public presentations by the bidders, before a panel composed of officials from the state racing board, the state's main economic development agency & his budget advisers"; those hearings "are expected to begin within a couple weeks".