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Entries in Horse Racing (2)

Tuesday
Jun052012

Triple Crown Run Threatened by Strike

Al Bello/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A top oddsmaker has posted 4-1 odds that I'll Have Another's triple crown bid will be scratched by a strike at the Belmont Stakes in a dispute between a union and the track's management.

The odds on no strike were prohibitively low for betters, set at 1-8 by www.Bovada.lv, an online sportsbook.

Workers for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3 have been authorized to go on strike at any time after they were unable to reach an agreement with the New York Racing Association regarding scheduling and wage disputes.

The NYRA, which has been in contract negotiations with the union for two years, called the lingering threat of a strike "troubling" and "extremely self-serving" in a statement issued to ABC News and questioned the timing before I'll Have Another's historic triple crown attempt.

I'll Have Another could become the first horse to win the triple crown in 34 years.

"NYRA employs approximately 130 Local 3 maintenance workers who believe their demands are more important than an historic day for 100,000 fans," the statement read.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seized control of the scandal-plagued NYRA last month after the president and general counsel were fired following state regulators' allegations that they knew the NYRA had shortchanged bettors by $8.5 million over 15 months.

If a strike is called, nearly 80 workers who maintain the track at the prestigious grounds and place horses in their starting gates would be missing from Saturday's highly anticipated race.

More than 100,000 fans are expected to flock to the Long Island race track, which has been called "The Test of Champions." Millions more will be watching on TV.

At issue is a dispute over wages. The NYRA's last best offer was a 30 percent reduction in wages and benefits, said Vincent McElroen, financial secretary of Local 3.

McElroen said NYRA has also unilaterally changed the workweek for union members at its three tracks from Monday to Friday, to Wednesday through Sunday, effectively stripping them of the overtime they used to earn for working weekend events. No races are run at NYRA tracks on Mondays and Tuesday.

"These are the changes they did without agreement to the union," he said. "We're always hopeful [there won't be a strike], but they have taken the position 'it's our way or the highway.'"

McElroen said the NYRA is using speculation of a strike before the Belmont Stakes to act like Union 3 members are "the bad guys."

"They're feeling threatened right now because of the strike authorization and that's just natural," he said. "[But] they're trying to pin it we're the bad guys.... But that's all smoke and mirrors."

If the workers don't strike and Belmont occurs on Saturday, I'll Have Another could be the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed who won all three jewels in 1978.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May222012

New York Seizes Control of Horse Racing Tracks

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With the Belmont Stakes -- and a potential Triple Crown victory for I'll Have Another – just weeks away, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the state will seize control of the scandal-plagued organization that operates the Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga racetracks.

Under the terms of a deal completed Tuesday morning, a 17-member "turn-around" board will run the New York Racing Association (NYRA) for the next three years. The board will include elected members of the state legislature, appointees chosen by the governor and representatives of the NYRA and the horseracing industry.

"As the upcoming Belmont Stakes shows, the racing industry is a vital part of New York State's culture and economy, attracting millions of dollars in tourism revenue from across the nation and supporting thousands of jobs," Governor Cuomo said. "New Yorkers can be assured that the NYRA Reorganization Board will act in the interests of the members of the public who enjoy horse racing, the taxpayers who support it, and the horses themselves, to make racing in our state the strongest, safest and most enjoyable in the country."

The president and general counsel of the NYRA, a private agency, were fired recently after state regulators alleged that they knew the NYRA had short-changed bettors by $8.5 million over 15 months. The NYRA appointed a new president on May 14. The overhaul announced today was approved by directors of the NYRA.

"The NYRA Reorganization Board will help ensure that racing in New York has a strong and stable future as the gaming and racing industry evolves," said NYRA Board Chair Steven Duncker. "I thank the members of the current NYRA Board for supporting the changes announced today and together we will work to ensure a smooth transition and bright future for New York racing."

The NYRA has a franchise to operate the state's three major tracks through 2033.

The announcement comes less than three weeks before Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another tries to become the first horse in 34 years to win all three legs of the Triple Crown. The Belmont Stakes are expected to draw more than 100,000 horseracing fans on June 9 to Belmont racetrack on Long Island.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio