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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

NYTHA's Violette Not Keen on Bloomberg Plan

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) President Richard Violette, Jr. issued a press release today stating that they would not support Mayor Bloomberg’s plan for the New York City OTB (NYCOTB). The mayor’s plan hinges around reducing funds paid by NYCOTB to NYRA and to purses. NYCOTB currently contributes tens of millions to the industry, to NYRA, to the breeding funds, to the state regulator as well as many tracks. As reported in the Blood-Horse, “The New York Thoroughbred Breeders is also opposing the NYCOTB-backed plan, arguing it will cut $1.2 million in annual breeding fund payments.”

The press release suggests other options for NYCOTB such as increasing surcharges on winning bets made through its branches or telephone, and the retention of uncashed pari-mutuel tickets, among others. The release concludes that it “must be moved from control of a disinterested party and placed where it belongs under the control of the NYRA.”

Interesting suggestion that that NYCOTB be put under the control of an entity currently sitting in bankruptcy court that had to receive hundreds of millions from the NYS taxpayers in a bailout when they were awarded a new franchise. This is an ongoing saga as Bloomberg has threatened to shut ‘er down in two weeks and the NYCOTB sent out layoff notices to 1,200 workers at the end of May. Politics at its best with the Governor, the Mayor, the legislature, NYRA, NYTHA, and the NYTBF all in the middle of a pesky situation with millions at stake.

Top Chef Handicapping

On a more serious note, we’re down to the final four (and two will go home tonight) in Top Chef Season 4 (in Puerto Rico). I received the evening line odds from the Toga Rez as to chances for elimination: Lisa 1-1, Antonia 3-1, Stephanie 5-1 and his favorite to win Richard at 10-1. I’m going with Stephanie (one to beat) and Antonia (the judges love her family schtick) and will play beat the favorite to advance to the finale. Lisa is toast.

Oh, and that other thing going on, some big race on Saturday…..more on that tomorrow.



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