New York Racing is in Real Trouble
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state budget yesterday. He made some very tough decisions in order to reduce a $10 billion deficit. As a result difficult decisions clearly needed to be made.
One of those decisions Governor Cuomo made was to create an additional surcharge on purse money in NY races of 2.75%. This simply perpetuates a myth that horse racing can withstand any and all cuts, surcharges, and fees because there is a perception that the industry can withstand it
The reason is that purses across the industry have been cut from $125 Million for the year in 2009 to $100 million in 2010 and will be lower in 2011. That is a 20% reduction in purses due to the NYC OTB failure It also is representative of the loss in handle which is the amount being wagered at the track or through simulcasting. The reality is people are not betting on horse racing in the numbers they used to. That creates a situation where the owners of the horses are running for lower purses.
What it doesn’t mean is that horse racing can continue to sustain in New York with these continued cuts. It also doesn’t mean that there is a 25% decrease in expenses. The horses are running for lower purses, however expenses continue to rise. This makes it an economic difficulty to make money on the average race.
As Rick Violette, a New York trainer and President of the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association said in The Saratogian racing is going to take a 22.5% cut and cannot sustain that and remain viable. It is truly a difficult time for our sport and we need to get together and band together.