Reaction to Spitzer’s Racing Decision

“I guess in the end, there’s as much suspense in this as a race with only one horse,” said Alan Mann, the horseracing enthusiast and blogger, in reaction to reports that Eliot Spitzer will recommend NYRA to control the state’s billion-dollar horse racing franchise.

NYRA, you may recall, ran the franchise earlier, lost money, and when faced with the prospect of competing with private entities for the franchise bid, laid claim to the land beneath various horse racing tracks. That would have made awarding the bid to someone else complicated, to say the least, said Mann. Other bidders to control the racing and the gambling, together or separately, included Capital Play, Empire Racing, and Excelsior, all of which had ties either to the governor or to political figures involved in deciding who will get the franchise.

And that may explain Spitzer’s decision today.

“There’s either enough doubt in his mind that he doesn’t want it to go to courts to decide, or it’s possible that he just doesn’t have the stomach for the fight and have the issue in the courts. It’s a way he doesn’t have to deal with the land issue.”

Mann added, “So he can move on to more important issues like getting revenue from the slot machines. That’s one angle. And also, I think the other bids, nobody came in and knocked anybody’s socks off.”

Spitzer's recommendations have to be approved by the legislature.