NYRA and state officials continue to spar

May 17, 2012

The New York Racing Association is defending its authority to name its officers and operate freely in what they believe is the best interests of thoroughbred racing.

NYRA promoted two executives while the state is investigating allegations the association intentionally held back roughly $8.5 million in winnings from bettors. State government officials have threatened to replace NYRA, which operates the Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga thoroughbred tracks under a state franchise.

While in Syracuse Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo would not comment on the executives’ appointment and said the investigation needs to run it’s course.

"There is no doubt but that NYRA has been a long troubled agency. There’s been problems at NYRA that go back decades literally," Cuomo said. "It doesn’t have the public trust and I think it hasn’t earned the public’s trust either. And that’s what we have to change because racing could be a very important economic engine for this state."    

NYRA is a private, non-profit organization. It says that harsh criticism from state regulators about the appointments was a rush to judgment.