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Associations Rally at Belmont Park to Save Horse Racing in New York State

March 23, 2010

With 35,000 Jobs on the Line the New York Thoroughbred Breeders &

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Associations Rally at Belmont Park to Save Horse Racing in New York State


Over 1,200 hear from elected officials who pledge their support


Belmont Park racetrack rocked to the cries of "Real Jobs! Real People!" as over 1,200 men and women who make their living working at New York race tracks took part in a weekend rally to save their jobs, joined by top ranking county and state lawmakers who pledged their support.

Organized by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to underscore the bleak future of New York's $2.4 billion horse racing industry, the rally underscored the need for Albany's policy makers to promptly select a vendor for video lottery terminals that would produce a million dollars a day for the state and to also address the dysfunctional New York City Off Track Betting Corporation.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano was among those attending the rally, telling the cheering audience that "Kick starting the economy means job preservation and nowhere is that more obvious to every elected official than the 35,000 New Yorkers who are part of thoroughbred racing. You have my support and my personal pledge to do whatever I can to help focus state officials on this crisis in an industry that is so important to us."

New York State Senator Kemp Hannon made an impassioned plea to the track workers to "Continue to make your voice heard here and in Albany. This rally does matter. Your vote does count and you need to send a message that is heard loud and clear. `Real jobs and real people need a real decision on VLT's.'"

The competitive forces of the racing marketplace could also harm New York's vulnerable condition as it continues to contemplate a VLT that has so far taken nine years of deliberation. "We might lose horses to New Jersey, only because they are more competitive purse wise," Matthew Vietch, Supervisor of Saratoga Springs told the media, having made a special effort to travel to Long Island and stand with the Belmont track workers.

Senator Craig Johnson's Director of Community Affairs Abdul Hakim represented the Senator during the rally at Belmont. Donning a cap that said "Real Jobs for Real People" Mr. Hakim said "Senator Johnson remains firmly committed to the working men and women who make up the heart and soul of Belmont and the multimillion dollar thoroughbred industry that contributes so much to our economy."

Many people speaking as one 

"The men and women who work at Belmont, Aqueduct, Saratoga, the other race tracks and our 400 farms represent some of the hardest working New Yorkers, and because of their work we have the means of generating a million dollars a day for this state for education, agriculture and whatever else the state treasury needs," said Jeffrey Cannizzo, Executive Director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders. "But for us to do that job, Albany has to do right by our industry and make decisions that will allow us to keep racing and breeding here in New York."

"It has been nine years since Albany passed legislation that would enable the installation of VLT's at Aqueduct race track. Nine years of broken promises that is now causing horsemen to send the industry's best horses where the purses are better and the chances for economic survival is not just a dream," said Rick Violette, President of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. "Albany's inaction continues to divert funds needed to keep the New York Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry alive and competitive, crippling the billion dollar thoroughbred industry and the communities and businesses that are supported by the horse racing industry."

Speaking at the Rally, Cannizzo said, "We have gathered here today to tell an entire generation of Albany leaders that we have no intention of dying, we have every intention of making our voices heard and we have every intention of making sure they do their jobs so that we can do ours."

ABOUT NYTB:

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) is a membership organization founded in 1974, in order to provide those individuals involved in the New York breeding and racing industry with an organization dedicated to the advancement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing in New York State.

NYTB is the official authorized representative of the Thoroughbred breeding industry in New York State; the unified voice of Thoroughbred breeders in the State of New York for purposes of communicating the advantages and rewards of breeding Thoroughbreds in the State and for the purposes of conducting and coordinating activities with breeding and racing associations and agencies.

ABOUT NYTHA:

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) represents the interests of horse owners and trainers at New York Racing Association (NYRA) tracks. NYTHA was founded with the objective of serving as a collective voice for the broad interests of Thoroughbred owners and trainers and to improve and increase the effectiveness of its constituents in the day-to-day activities of racing. NYTHA strives to protect the economic interests of all horsemen and to gain public recognition of horseracing as a vital form of entertainment, deserving support, protection and preservation. Membership of the organization is comprised of any owner or trainer who is licensed by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board who has run a horse in the last two years at Aqueduct, Belmont or Saratoga.

Press Release March 22, 2010: New York Thoroughbred Breeders & the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association

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