More Than Just a Boondoggle: History Says Another 1,800 Horses Would Be Killed at the “New and Improved” Belmont Park

On January 24, Nicole and I (with other HW volunteers) lobbied for the subsidy bill at the NYS Capitol. We visited all 213 legislative offices, dropping off educational materials (below) and engaging in many constructive conversations. Wednesday, Governor Hochul’s budget proposal was unveiled, and it included a massive ($455 million) bond package that the New York Racing Association (NYRA) would use to renovate Belmont Park. The money, as previously reported, would be repaid with the subsidies NYRA is already receiving. Talk about a sweetheart deal. So, we will head back down in the next couple weeks. Because this lobby day will be squarely focused on the bond proposal, follows is an ugly, inconvenient truth on Belmont and Aqueduct (the new Belmont would absorb all of Aqueduct’s racedays).

From 2009 through 2022, 854 horses died at Belmont/Aqueduct – an average of 61 per year. With history as our guide – and why shouldn’t it be – we can reasonably expect another 1,800 or so horses to perish at the new Belmont over the life of the bonds (30 years). Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds more beautiful, intelligent, and sensitive beings sacrificed for $2 bets – and all of it coming on the public’s dime.

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  1. I’m often attacked by pro-horse racing people telling me that I’m too emotional about racehorses dying and that’s not all.
    We know, and I’ve often posted, that many racehorses are suffering and mangled long before they die making this even more egrecious.
    So I’m going to put my emotions aside to say this.
    Taxpayers, the public coffers and/or casinos are being forced to support this business for years and if this deal goes down they will all be on the hook to continue to support it.
    Every single exact prototype of this business deal being proposed has failed in the state of Maryland and in the province of Ontario Canada.
    Both of these racing jurisdictions convinced politicians to hand over BILLIONS in public subsidies, taxpayers money and/or casino profits.
    20 years of total waste of precious taxpayers money went to this vile business and NOT ONE OF THEM changed anything for the better because they are still and will never be financially self-sustainable because the vast majority of people don’t want anything to do with horse racing.
    More racehorses got abused, more died, and most of the money wasn’t even used as it was intended resulting in poverty stricken neighborhoods deprived of upgrades, the communities suffered, the housing and rental crisis was exacerbated and the only people who benefitted were the rich, politicians and attorneys.
    Make no mistake about this because it’s an outright CASH GRAB and SCAM!
    You could pretty much classify it as a PONZI SCHEME and it needs to END.
    All of this money and nothing changed because none of them are not financially sustainable and there is every economic indication that the same will happen in NY.
    We have 20 years of track records with public funds and nothing ever changes.
    Gov. Kathy Hutchel is an idiot and it’s so sad that she has no problem handing out other people’s hard earned money and that’s why she should be held legally and fiscally responsible when they default on these bonds because they most likely will.
    The economic facts DON’T LIE, but for some reason the politicians who support this don’t even mention it and that’s why it seems to be a CASH GRAB for them at the behest of their constituents.

  2. That racecourse and trainer David Cannizo, in 2018 , will hold place in my psyche of trauma that will haunt me forever ….burn that racetrack into oblivion, and develop something good for people who need positive things in their lives. That graveyard Aqueduct must go, it holds nothing but TRAUMATIC memories of pure soul angels (the Horses). Bye,bye Aqueduct. Good riddance,that track was a scourge on all that is pure.

  3. Sorry it took me so long to read this latest installment, Patrick. I am horrified to read about the Governor’s corrupt $455 million bond package. We must fight this tooth and nail!

  4. My friend owns property in upstate New York.
    He’s furious about this because his property taxes have just doubled and he feels it’s to pay for these racehorse people to fly down to Keeneland and spend $250,000+ on a racehorse!
    He’s not against horse racing, but he’s against any public or casino money going to support it.
    He asked me to post this, but declined himself because he works in government.
    He said they should pay for it themselves like all the other businesses in New York state struggling to survive.
    How dare she throw around people’s money like this!
    VOTE HER OUT the people will not forget what she did which is screw the majority of taxpayers in New York State.
    My friend said, at this point, he will vote across party lines for anybody who commits to ending any subsidies to horse racing and I think the majority of people feel the same there.
    What a sad time for the racehorses and you can blame this lady for their broken bones and for dropping dead in the dirt at their “modernized” facility because, at the end of the day, racehorses will continue to die no matter where they are forced to race.
    Gov. Kathy Hochul is no friend of the environment because horse racing pollutes wherever it’s located and it’s time they pay up for their violations.
    We will see to it they do and wait until all of the lawsuits start coming into the state offices from fecal matter and urine refuse into the water systems like they did in Florida.
    This is only the beginning of the costs to the state because now horse racing will be accountable to the strict environmental laws in New York state as they should!

  5. keep going to the leigislatgors. glad you have others with you. it has impact i believe

  6. What a huge sellout and disappointment Hochul is. Thank you, Patrick, Nicole, and volunteers for your efforts on this. This reminds me of the recent headline this week of investors (from NY) buying land, which equals future water rights, around the depleting Colorado River. The rich will profit from the scarcity, looming now, of a basic necessity: water. Here too the rich, using taxpayer money, a large sum to boot, will become even richer abusing and killing horses. TYT’s Ana Kasparian referred to the water rights purchasing, appropriately so, as legalized corruption, and that is exactly what subsidized horseracing is.

  7. The saying goes that figures don’t lie, but you know you’ve got to stop and think. That depends on how many sets of books the NYRA is keeping in addition to the type of bookkeeping and accounting methods they use, the RATE of INFLATION, whether or not there is some corruption within the Comptroller’s office and to what extent, if there is, the possibility of kickbacks and stuff like that. I believe it’s a no-brainer that there is already corruption within the New York Racing Association besides the horse racing industry in general.
    One must ask: How many times will the head honchos at the NYRA get a hankering to go on some kind of shopping/ spending spree using the money being received through the “dirty” deals they have already made in the past, let alone the dirty deal they are seeking now after already being turned down once last year???
    The State of New York will be paying at least TWO TIMES the $455 MILLION because of the dirty deal in which the NYRA IS CHOOSING to “pay it back” which is not really paying it back. New York State will be in effect GIVING AWAY $455 million TIMES TWO plus the amount of whatever the rate of inflation is for the next 30 years!

    What are the chances that anyone who actually cares about the horses and how they are treated and cares about the future of the citizens of New York State would vote “Yes” to THROWING AWAY $455 Million x 2 = $910 MILLION + (the Rate of Inflation over the next 30 years) = $??????? BILLION to a corrupt industry that exploits and tortures and kills horses in the pursuit of “fame and fortune” for their corrupt and abusive selves and engages in excessive doping to the point that the Federal Bureau of Investigation must be involved to bring certain corrupt, criminal-minded individuals to some sort of justice??? I believe anyone who has any sense of what is right would VOTE “NO” with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY!

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