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Queens Chronicle

NYRA: 'No plans' to close Aqueduct Race Track

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Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 2:40 pm | Updated: 3:47 pm, Thu Aug 29, 2013.

The New York Racing Association says it isn't planning on closing Aqueduct Race Track despite a report in today's Albany Times-Union that said the horse racing organization's financial oversight board suggested shuttering the track to save money. 

At a meeting of the cash-strapped entity's reorganization board in Saratoga Springs, closure of the South Ozone Park track — one of three NYRA runs — was brought up, according to the Times-Union article.

But NYRA spokesman Eric Wing said that while everything is on the table, closure of the track is not imminent.

"All aspects of our operations are being reviewed by The New York Racing Association Reorganization Board," Wing said in an email Thursday. "There are no plans, however, to close Aqueduct Race Track."

Aqueduct only operates in the winter months, with the two other tracks — Belmont in Nassau County and Saratoga — operating in summer and autumn. 

The track has undergone a revitalization since Resorts World Casino New York City opened next to it in 2011, adding thousands of video lottery terminals at the site. Casino patrons can bet on horse races and access the grandstand directly from the casino floor. But Robert Megna, the state's budget director, told NYRA not to rely on income from Resorts World to close the association's budget gap.

NYRA recorded a $10.3 million operating loss in the first half of 2013, more than doubt that of last year, despite bringing in slightly more in revenue this year when Resorts World's VLTs are included. 

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1 comment:

  • Januz posted at 12:36 pm on Sat, Aug 31, 2013.

    Januz Posts: 1

    A title of a Led Zeppelin song called "What Is And What Should Never Be." sums up the fate of "The Big-A" quite well. What (it) is (potentially one of the most valuable pieces of Real Estate in New York City. One that should be an economic game changer (likely in the BILLIONS)). What should (really will) never be is the return of Horse Racing to New York to the degree that it once was (in particular to Aqueduct). The only questions are: 1: The timeline (when will it be shutdown)? 2: Who will buy it? 3: What will be done with it? However, as we have seen with the Nassau Coliseum (77 acres) and the Kingsbridge Armory (5 acres), there is a premium price to be paid for large properties (and this one has 192 Acres). By the way, Willets Point (which could be the next big tract to be developed) has only 23 Acres. When will this happen, may very well be determined by the fate of Willets Point, then by being able to bring forward additional transportation alternatives (such as the Woodhaven SBS and taking unused LIRR tracks and adding new service to South Queens). In each case (particularly Willets), you have a bunch of vocal opponents who want nothing done. But if they can be overcome, I see Aqueduct closed in the next five years. If not, it will take a decade (but it will happen).