Contact: Bill Nader (718) 641-4700, ext. 3447
The New York Racing Association agreed today to a memorandum of understanding, which outlines the terms of an up to $30 million state financial assistance package that will permit the continuation of Thoroughbred racing operations at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course through 2006.
The $30 million package includes three elements:
- Land sale proceeds in the amount of $5 million from the Port Authority with $1 million transferred today to NYRA and the remaining $4 million balance payable at closing.
- A $5 million loan to NYRA from Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), which is secured by future Aqueduct VLT revenues.
- Legislation to be proposed by Governor (George) Pataki providing an up to $20 million loan to NYRA to finance services and expenses associated with the operation of NYRA's three racetracks and to facilitate the timely opening of a VLT facility at Aqueduct Racetrack.
"We particularly appreciate the efforts of the Governor (George) Pataki and his staff in working with NYRA to complete this package under tight time constraints," said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. "Moreover, we appreciate the efforts of Governor, Senator (Joseph) Bruno and Assembly Speaker (Sheldon) Silver in rallying to the support of the New York racing industry during this critical period. This is a very important day for Thoroughbred racing in the great State of New York.
"We look forward to legislative action that completes this agreement in early session with a satisfactory result," continued Hayward. "Once that is achieved, we can look at the new year with renewed optimism as NYRA can continue to present the best racing in the nation while our long-awaited Aqueduct VLT facility begins construction."
Aqueduct's VLT facility will feature 4,500 gaming machines and is expected to generate over $400 million annually for the State.
NYRA has applied for 257 racing dates in 2006. Key dates on the schedule include the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 8, the Belmont Stakes, third leg of racing's Triple Crown, at Belmont Park on June 10, and the entire 36-day Saratoga season, which runs from July 26 through Labor Day and features the Travers Stakes on August 26.
- 30 -
The New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA) is a private, non-profit racing association established in 1955, which owns and operates the three largest racetracks in New York - Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. It is a non-profit, non-dividend paying corporation governed by a Board of Trustees, whose members, by law, receive no compensation or dividends. Since its inception, NYRA has contributed more than $3 billion in direct tax revenue to the State of New York.