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The New York Racing Association, Inc. Board of Directors approves 2014 budgets, racing dates, including first quarter schedule change

By Eric Wing | 12/04/2013 05:53 PM ET

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Board of Directors, meeting in New York City today, approved the organization's operating and capital budgets for 2014, and also approved NYRA's 2014 slate of racing dates.

The Board approved a 2014 operating budget of $155 million and a capital budget of $23 million that forecasts a profit of $250,000 independent of Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) revenues. The vote was taken following a lengthy discussion on the merits of proposed increases in admission and parking fees at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, included in the budget. It was decided that market research with the wagering public on those increases would be done prior to the Board's next meeting in March.

The Board approved a racing schedule of 252 dates in 2014 - comprised of 79 days during the Aqueduct Winter/Spring meet, 54 days during the Belmont Spring meet, 40 days during the Saratoga meet, 37 days during the Belmont Fall meet and 42 days during the Aqueduct Fall meet. 

In a new initiative aimed at increasing handle, Aqueduct will predominantly race on a Thursday-through-Monday schedule in January and March, and on a four-day, Friday-through-Monday schedule in February.  From April through the end of the year, NYRA generally will hold live racing on its customary Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule, with the usual exception of the Saratoga meet when there will again be live racing every day except Tuesday.

The Board heard a report from CEO and President Chris Kay, who reviewed business results at the Saratoga and Belmont fall meetings as well as the meet to date at Aqueduct Racetrack. He also outlined projected cost reductions and revenue increases within the 2014 budget.

Additionally, David O'Rourke, NYRA Vice-President of Corporate Development, announced that NYRA had completed its Request for Proposals (RFP) process for selecting a consulting firm to advise NYRA on Long Term Planning (LTP) initiatives. A.T. Kearney, Inc., a firm with extensive and relevant experience in the gambling, sports, entertainment, horse racing and privatization spheres, was selected to negotiate a contract following a comprehensive technical and pricing analysis during the RFP process.

The Board heard additional reports from Chair David J. Skorton and Chief Financial Officer Susanne Stover.

The Board also heard reports from the Long Term Planning Committee, the Compensation Committee, the Finance Committee, the Audit and Compliance Committee, the Nominations and Governance Committee and the Racing Committee. In addition, the Board voted to approve the minutes of the Board meeting held on August 28, 2013.

All materials discussed and reviewed during the Board's meetings, replays of past meetings, and a list of Board members are available here.

About the NYRA Board: The NYRA Board consists of 17 directors: eight appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo; two directors each appointed by the New York State Senate and Assembly; and five directors appointed by the former NYRA Board. Breeders and horsemen each have an ex officio member. The NYRA Board is in effect through October 2015, following which NYRA will revert back to majority private control. Seven of the appointees bring experience from the entertainment, finance, and legal fields in addition to horse racing.