The 'Big A', as the historic Aqueduct racecourse is known in racing circles, is currently living on borrowed time. The racecourse which opened in 1894 may be closed down by New York Racing Association on February 24. In May 2007, the media reported that New York governor Eliot Spitzer was thinking about closing the racecourse and selling it off. According to these reports, the Belmont racecourse, which is only nine miles away, would then become a year round track. The Belmont racecourse would need modifications in order to cater for the winter season and additional stables would need to be built. The NYRA seem set upon rejecting a proposal by Joe Bruno to extend the Aqueduct franchise by another 25 years. Bruno, majority leader of the New York State Senate, had a draft bill prepared that negotiators are still working on. In this document, the NYRA's franchise would be extended up until 2033 and in return, the state would take over ownership of the three racecourses. Also in terms of the draft agreement; an approximate $105 million would be provided to help the association surface from its bankruptcy.Steven Duncker, the chairman of the NYRA issued a statement saying the Bruno's proposal "does not provide the proper business model and economic terms that permits NYRA to emerge from bankruptcy nor does it correct the broken business model of Thoroughbred racing in New York."The statement cited disparity between the two parties on how the NYRA's board should be reorganised. In Bruno's proposal he said that state officials would get 10 seats on a 21-seat board which would in Duncker's opinion politicise the board.
The Big G