New Chairman Slams New York Racing

Wednesday, 13th August 2008

The new top regulator of racing in New York has "provided a harsh pep talk to the NY Racing Association & offered a tough assessment of an industry he says is in decline in many ways because of its own doing," reported Newly-appointed NY Racing & Wagering Board chairman John Sabini declared: the "physical conditions of racetracks turn off many would-be patrons, including himself"; the industry "is not doing a good enough job marketing itself to compete with other forms of gambling"; owners today "are too quickly retiring horses to breeding, leaving little chance to excite potential fans to a well-known thoroughbred"; & the NYRA needs to "be more aware of its responsibility to the state, which awarded it an exclusive franchise & needs to get more, financially speaking, out of NYRA". Sabini emphasised the NYRA is "not just a private club. They need to be pushed a little. They're not just doing this for the benefit of their own board." He noted the industry is "at a crossroads” & he sees his role "not just as an industry regulator to ensure the integrity of racing", but also serving "as a watchdog for the taxpayers". Noting the major investment the state has in the industry, he said bluntly: "We don't run races so horse owners can watch their horses race. We need to get back to understanding we need to interest more people in racing."

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