The horse racing organization that has threatened to cancel the Belmont Stakes due to monetary woes says it will take the state to court instead of opening its books to auditors, according to the Daily News. The New York Racing Association refused to turn over its records to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli after he subpoenaed the group yesterday, arguing that because a court has ruled that nonprofit charter schools don't need to open their books to the state, neither should the nonprofit horse-racing organization.
But lawmakers blasted the New York Racing Association, claiming that the group — which was recently bailed out with $105 million in taxpayer money and had its $200 million debt erased in an exchange for land rights and greater government oversight — has no intention of canceling the last leg of the Triple Crown. "I think that's just BS," said Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-Westchester) — chair of the Racing and Wagering committee. "That's just talk. That's horse manure. They would do anything humanly possible to save the Belmont Stakes." Pretlow told the Post the group is bluffing in hopes of getting the state to finalize a deal to install video slot machines at the Aqueduct track in Queens: "I know what he's trying to do is get somebody off of the ball to make a decision to get this thing moving, and he's using whatever is in his power to … get it moving."
The long-delayed Aqueduct plan is expected to net about $1 million in revenue per day that would help the New York Racing Association operate its tracks in Saratoga, Aqueduct, and Belmont, while providing the state with long-term cash and a $200 million in licensing fees needed to close this year's budget in Albany.