Assemblywoman Woerner: Bill to Return NYRA to Private Control Passes Assembly

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) announced that legislation she authored to provide for the transition of the New York Racing Association (NYRA) from public to private control has passed the Assembly (A.10429). The bill has also passed the state Senate and now awaits the governor’s approval.

“The racing industry is a longstanding part of the fabric of our community. The Saratoga Race Track is not only a historical landmark that contributes to our region’s rich and storied heritage, but it also helps fuel our region’s economic engine,” said Woerner. “Returning NYRA to private control will enable it to more effectively conduct business and meet the long-term needs of our community.”

Woerner’s legislation would disassemble the current state-appointed reorganization board, which was established in 2012 to help the association restructure its finances to avoid bankruptcy. Control would be transferred to a new 15-member board, which would include two appointees by the governor, one by the Assembly and one by the Senate.

Other board members would include the chief executive officer of NYRA, one appointee by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, one by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and eight by the executive committee of the current NYRA reorganization board —including representatives from Saratoga, Nassau and Queens counties where NYRA’s three race tracks are located.

Last year, Assemblywoman Woerner joined Capital Region lawmakers in sending a bipartisan letter to Governor Cuomo urging that NYRA be returned to a private, nonprofit association. The group echoed concerns from the racing community that state control is impeding critical decisions that affect the long-term success and stability of the racing industry, including capital projects and other initiatives.