Sports News

Financial problems may shut New York tracks in June

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The cash-strapped operator of New York’s largest thoroughbred race tracks told employees Friday it expects to cease operations next month unless new funding is found.

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) said in a statement it had sent notices to more than 1,400 employees that layoffs can be expected to begin as early as June 9.

“(NYRA) expects to cease racing operations and begin the implementation of plant closures on Wednesday, June 9 at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course, and Aqueduct Racetrack,” the statement said.

“NYRA continues to pursue solutions with the State of New York that may avert the cessation of operations,” the corporation said.

The notices were required by federal and state law for pending closures, it said.

The financial problems come as Belmont Park prepares for the June 5 Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown.

Rep. Scott Murphy, whose district includes the Saratoga track, told Reuters on Wednesday NYRA faces a $20 million shortfall because the state has not fulfilled its financial obligations to the operator.

He said he was optimistic a solution could be found.

New York Gov. David Paterson has promised the tracks would not close and is proposing between $15 million and $25 million in loans to NYRA until a permanent solution is found.

Writing by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Steve Ginsburg