Day At The Track

Horsemen denied accurate information

07:43 PM 24 Jun 2010 NZST
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Expressing 'shock' at the misinformation being disseminated by the Empire State Harness Racing Horseman's Association, the President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International described the New York legislative proposal to create an interstate compact as "necessary to protect the livelihood of tens of thousands of standardbred horsemen across the country," and noted that New York standardbred horsemen could be exposed to a $35 million "hit" if Congress steps in due to the failure of the states to enact a new compact.

RCI President Ed Martin, who served for nine years as Executive Director of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, said: "it is apparent that some people have not read the bill"and indicated that failure to pass compact legislation this year could result in the creation of an additional federal layer of regulation on standardbred and thoroughbred racing that would impose additional costs that "could break the back of hardworking horsemen in New York."

"The bill pending before the New York Legislature is nothing more than a proposal to allow government to operate more efficiently and potentially eliminate redundancies that have proven costly to New York horsemen and imposed unnecessary burdens on those who also race in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and elsewhere," Martin said.

"The State Racing and Wagering Board does not have any less authority or more authority than it now has under state statue under this compact proposal. It is not accurate to tell people that officials in other states will be making decisions affecting New York horsemen. It is also not accurate to imply that horsemen will not have an opportunity to be involved in the policy formation process or will lose their right to review, comment and influence any proposed action of the New York Racing and Wagering Board through the compact," Martin said.

"Horsemen deserve better," Martin said, noting that some proposals being discussed to involve the federal government in the regulation and taxing of racing could cost New York standardbred horsemen over $35 million dollars in a potential federal tax on handle. "That could kill standardbred racing in New York and is not a gamble I'd be willing to take to stop a bill that does nothing more than allow the NY regulator to operate efficiently in these tight times."

Ed MARTIN

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