New York State Set to Take Over Horse Racing Association
Mismanagement and corruption at the New York Racing Association led the state to take control of the organization. The first step: set up a temporary reorganization board.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that he had signed legislation giving the state majority control over the New York Racing Association (NYRA) for the next three years. The legislation establishes the NYRA Reorganization Board with 17 members: eight appointed by Cuomo, four by the legislature, and five by the current NYRA board.
Announcing the plan in May, Cuomo cited the dysfunctional nature of the organization as the driving force behind the decision. Since its founding in 1950, he said, NYRA has been embroiled in scandal, filed for bankruptcy, and has been bailed out by the state.
“We’re going to be putting a new board in place to basically take control,” Cuomo told the New York Times last month. “Then how you do the business of quote-unquote horse racing and what is racing in the future, and how do you really incorporate all the knowledge and potential of the entertainment industry, which is a big component of this, is something we’re working through.”
NYRA may retake control of the New York horse-racing operation after three years, but many believe the state’s racetracks will be put out to bid and eventually taken over by a private company like Churchill Downs, Inc., or the Stronach Group, which owns the Pimlico and Santa Anita tracks.
Howard B. Glaser, Cuomo’s director of state operations, told the Times that the state adopted the three-year plan because it did not want to permanently control New York’s horse-racing business.
“What the ongoing future structure of NYRA is is one of the things that the board is charged with in the legislation,” said Glaser. “So one of the first jobs of the board is to look at this question…what’s the best way to strengthen horse racing in New York and make it as positive an experience as possible for the bettors and fans of horse racing?”
The New York Racing Association declined comment for this article.
(photo by Paolo Camera/Flickr)