New York Racing Association
|Predecessor||The Greater New York Association|
|Headquarters||Jamaica, New York|
|Michael Del Giudice (Vice Chairman)
Chris Kay (CEO and President)
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA; pronounced /NY-rə/) is the not-for-profit corporation that operates the three largest thoroughbred horse-racing tracks in the state of New York. It runs Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, Queens; Belmont Park in Elmont, Long Island (just outside New York City); and Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs (Upstate), New York. NYRA's corporate offices are headquartered at the Aqueduct Race Track.
The corporation is the successor to the Greater New York Association, a non profit racing association created in 1955.
NYRA is separate from the governing body that oversees racing in New York, the former New York State Racing and Wagering Board (now the Gaming Commission).
In 1913, racing returned to New York after a hiatus. Only four tracks had survived the hiatus. These were Aqueduct Racetrack (the Big A), Belmont Park, Jamaica Racetrack and Saratoga Race Course. The tracks came under common ownership with the creation of a non-profit association known as the Greater New York Association in 1955. The association remodeled Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course and demolished Jamaica, which is now the Rochdale Village housing development. The partnership became the New York Racing Association on April 10, 1958. Later, Belmont Park was closed from 1963 to 1968 in order to construct a new grandstand.
From December, 2003 through September, 2005, NYRA operated under a deferred prosecution agreement following a 2003 federal indictment. The charges related alleged income tax evasion and money laundering by mutuel clerks between 1980 and 1999 with the knowledge of NYRA middle managers. Under the agreement, NYRA paid $3 million to the government and its implementation of new cash-handling procedures designed to eliminate corruption and mismanagement was monitored by a New York law firm. After receiving a report from the monitor which concluded that NYRA was in compliance with the new guidelines, the Justice Department moved to dismiss the indictment and its motion was allowed by a federal judge.
NYRA, claiming that the state lottery division's failure to approve the installation of video-lottery terminal (VLT) machines at Aqueduct Racetrack pushed it to insolvency, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 2, 2006. The association emerged from bankruptcy protection September 12, 2008 with incorporation of a successor corporation, New York Racing Association Inc.
NYRA was reorganized and its franchise to operate the three racetracks was extended through 2033 under legislation approved by the New York state legislature on February 13, 2008. The new authorization provided $105 million in direct state aid and forgave millions more in state loans to NYRA. The association also gave up its claim to ownership of the land on which the three racetracks are situated. In return, the state gained expanded oversight responsibility. The state comptroller won the power to audit NYRA's books. The conversion of NYRA from a non-profit association to a not-for-profit corporation also gave the state attorney general enhanced oversight authority. In addition, the state now appoints 11 of the corporation's 25 directors. By changing from non-profit to not-for-profit status, NYRA also gained flexibility in its financial management.
The New York Racing Association conducts year-round racing in New York. In the winter it operates at Aqueduct, from May to mid-July the operates Belmont. In the latter part of July, all of August into the beginning of September, it runs Saratoga Race Course. From September to the end of October racing returns to Belmont. The year concludes in the fall at Aqueduct. NYRA sponsors the Triple Crown for fillies in the US, known as the Triple Tiara.
Law Enforcement Force
The New York Racing Association has its own law enforcement force composed of uniformed New York State certified Peace Officers, Fire Marshals and Investigators. The members of this force are responsible for enforcing NYS laws as well as NYRA rules and regulations both on and around NYRA facilities per NYS law. Security Guards (who work during the Saratoga meet) supplement the force with non enforcement duties.
- White, Gordon S. Jr. (September 28, 1955). "Purchase of 4 Race Tracks Approved". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2009.
- Precious, Tom (November 2, 2006). "NYRA Seeks Bankruptcy Protection from Court". The Blood-horse. Retrieved November 3, 2006.
- Bossert, Jerry (September 12, 2008). "NYRA out of Chapter 11". Daily News. New York. Retrieved July 26, 2009.