Monday, 27 April 2009

NY Handle Decreases; Reduced Quality and Dependence On VLTs A Solution, Says NYTBDF

According to the DRF, New York’s Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund is facing “economic catastrophe”. The fund, tasked with paying incentive bonuses for the State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund Corp., is unable to fulfill its payout obligations as the number of state-restricted races increases while handles, its primary source of income, keep shrinking.

According to NYTBDF executive director Martin Kinsella, the number of state-restricted races will increase from between 500 and 600 annually over the last years to 700-800 this year, a change the fund applauds and which, again according to Kinsella, far outweighs NYTBDF cutbacks.

Given a relatively level overall number of races on NY tracks, 200 more state-restricted races means that about one race less per day will be open to non-statebred (or state-registered) horses, further intensifying the already existing decline in quality of NYRA’s racing product. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t declining quality one of the main reasons for reduced handle? For comparison, look up “Gulfstream Park, Development of annual handle at” in the Cambridge Almanac of Common Sense.

Instead, Kinsella is holding out hope for the arrival of VLTs at Aqueduct, a bright future he actually refers to as a “long-term solution”. The NYTBDF was one of the first state incentive programs subsidizing breeding regions with huge amounts of money (over 60 million dollars annually), initially intended to draw breeders and owners from other states, but now mostly subsidizing the breeding of inferior horses that would not otherwise be profitable. It was effective enough to force every other breeding region around the country to start a fund itself, resulting in a stalemate that is a major cause of American racing's current oversupply.

Kinsella, if nothing else, proves one thing: No matter how many times the world economy breaks down because of this mindset, NY executives still won’t grasp a concept that every illiterate tanner in the middle ages was able to understand: In the long term, your business can’t be healthy if your expenses are higher than your income.

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