If there were any lingering questions about the utter fatuousness of the New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) justification for its latest welfare grab – a $455 million loan from the state to rebuild Belmont Park, with said loan to be repaid through the massive subsidization NYRA already receives – then a new New York Focus interview with the firm that authored the “study” NYRA has been citing (but until this week had refused to release in its entirety) is a must read.
Please read the full interview, as it’s not only worth it (not to mention entertaining), but it helps support (increasingly rare) good journalism. My personal favorite is an exchange on a “New Belmont” bringing the Breeders’ Cup (BC) back to NY. NYRA giddily talks of a spectator bump with the BC. Hardly mentioned, of course, is the BC rotates among several states, meaning it may only be at Belmont twice a decade…
“NYF: You included the 120,000 per year projection in your study and said the Breeders’ Cup could bring those fans. Is that 120,000 a year number accurate if the Breeders’ Cup will only come twice a decade?
“SB: We did the projections of the Breeders’ Cup, Sam, to show what the full potential of a modernized facility at Belmont would look like. And again remember, these are projections of attendance. These are economic models, which are industry standard.”