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Monday, November 29, 2010

Kill NYCOTB Once And For All

It is time to put the stake through the heart of NYCOTB.  First of all, how fair can a deal be when one secured creditor (via state law), the horsemen get zero cents on the dollar, while another secured creditor (the race tracks) get the ADW system as compensation for what they are giving up in bankruptcy court?  If the settlement gave horsemen a percentage of the ADW system as well as the racetracks, I would be in favor of the plan, even if the agreement called for the tracks to run the system; they key is the horsemen would have an equity interest in the ADW system.

As for the settlement calling for less racing dates at Monticello, that is a red herring.  With all do respect to Mr. Faraldo, there is too much racing going on at Monticello as is; if racing during January and February was cancelled, it would remove an inferior product and increase the purse distribution the rest of the year for horsemen who call Monticello home.  Instead of racing at Monticello, these horsemen can race at the upstate tracks where there is such a shortage of horses that they let them race as long as a horse has a valid line within the last six months.

I understand racinos wish to reverse tax increases, but the bankruptcy of NYCOTB is not the place for this to be addressed; it should be negotiated with the state legislature outside of the constraints of a bankruptcy procedure.

If this deal was to be approved, it would be another case where the standardbred industry takes one for the benefit of the thoroughbred industry; all the protections the harness industry due to the prejudices of NYCOTB would disappear.  No more dark day payments as well as other payments made because OTB decides to show a $2,000 claiming race at Plug Downs over the Open at Yonkers.  There is nothing in this plan to ensure a NY first strategy would be mandatory; not that it has stopped OTB in the past from doing what it wants.  Any deal should protect the standardbred horsemen from discriminatory practices from OTB.

Even more frightening is once this bill is approved, the other OTBs will be in line seeking a similar deal.  Make no mistake, if OTB were to close, horsemen will lose as those who wager at NYC OTB offices are not likely to return to the track.  However, as a legitimate creditor of NYCOTB, shouldn't the horsemen have a say in what will happen to them?

OTB has been a plague on New York racing since it first opened up.  Maybe with the death of OTB, racing will finally be in control of its own destiny.

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