Day At The Track

Release to NY State elected officials

07:12 PM 14 Dec 2007 NZDT
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Sign posted at stable gate in Dec 2007
Sign posted at stable gate in Dec 2007 - Sign posted at the stable gate to Vernon Downs, Dec 2007

The following release was forwarded to all statewide elected officials this morning in response to the actions of track management at Vernon Downs Racetrack in New York:

TO: NYS elected officials, Vernon horsemen and harness industry stakeholders

FROM: Joseph Faraldo

DATE: December 14, 2007

RE: Vernon Management’s latest demonstration of disdain for horsemen and the legislative process

Though we have shared other unfortunate examples of Vernon Downs management’s gamesmanship and disrespect with you in the past, we wanted to make sure you were aware of Mr. Gural’s latest – and frankly, rather childish – actions.

Attached is a photo of a large poster that Vernon management placed at the harness track gate this morning.

It reads, “Barn area closing December 17 by order of Joseph Faraldo, Esq., Counsel for HHA of NYC.”

While we all know by now that Mr. Gural has continually tried to try turn the important discussion about the future of harness racing into some kind of personal feud with me, this latest attempt to blame his ills on me – and by extension, the track’s hard-working horsemen – is both sophomoric and makes a mockery of the important efforts we are trying to engage in with the New York State Legislature.

With the stakes in this issue so high, it is a shame that he has time and again tried to pick these personal fights instead of working constructively on the very real issues facing all of us.

This poster is just the latest graphic example of what we have faced for years.

As you will see in the statement that we distributed yesterday in response to the announced closing of the barn area, this closure represents a clear violation of the track’s contract with the horsemen and is yet another example of management’s continuing pattern of utter disregard for racing.

We have been consistent in our position and - as we have shared with Vernon management for more than a year - we will be pleased to support legislation that both gives the track owners the relief they need and provides the members of our industry with the legal protections they require (and, it should be noted, which we had under the state’s original VLT law).

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Mr. Gural knows full well how this issue can be resolved as a win/win for everyone involved, and it’s about time he stopped the gamesmanship and threats and started working toward a real resolution.

Joseph Faraldo

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