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NYRA Retains New York Franchise
In the US early this morning (Australian time), New York Governor Eliot Spitzer "chose the New York Racing Association to retain its franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont Park & Saratoga Race Course for the next 30 years," reported thoroughbredtimes.com. Spitzer also announced he will "recommend to the state legislature that a separate franchise be awarded to an experienced gaming operator to operate as many as 4,500 video lottery terminals at Aqueduct" (capable of generating an estimated US$660 million per year). Spitzer summed up his decision: "Thoroughbred racing is a vital state industry, providing tens of thousands of jobs to breeders, horsemen & workers who are directly employed at New York's 3 thoroughbred tracks. Following my investigations a few years ago, a new leadership team at NYRA has turned the organisation around to the point where it is demonstrating real results & true transparency. The strong performance of racing this season is a testament to how far NYRA has come in the last few years & this agreement ensures racing in New York State will be operated by experienced management." And NYRA chairman Steven Duncker declared: "Today's announcement is the culmination of NYRA's efforts over the past several years to reinvent itself. The Governor's support is a testament to the efforts undertaken by NYRA to become the racing industry leader in integrity & corporate governance."