A large turnout of nearly 150 interested members attended the annual meeting of District 8A (lower New York State) of the United States Trotting Association held on Saturday
afternoon, January 15, 2011 in The Good Time Room of Yonkers Raceway.
The focal point of the two hour-long conclave involved spirited debate regarding the numerous and sundry proposed rules changes for 2011. Significant discussion on such topics as presiding judges' discretion in instances of on-track accidents displayed the overwhelming concern District 8A members collectively possess when association rules are discussed. This year's vigorous and careful consideration by the group simply followed a trend: It was reported that last year the full USTA Board's vote on rule changes led to the final promulgation of every proposal the 8A District accepted and the failure of every proposal for which the District recommended rejection.
The meeting was presided over by District Chairman Joseph Faraldo, joined by track director Bob Galterio, Vice President of racing at the Hilltop Oval and horsemen's director Stephane Bouchard, who was fresh from his national television appearance on ESPN donning skis for a trip around a snowbound Goshen Historic Track behind a standardbred trainee.
Of further significance were three announcements. One was the announcement of a torch being passed to a new generation, as longtime track director, Hall of Famer Timothy J. Rooney, relinquished his seat on the USTA board in favour of his son, attorney Timothy, Jr. Another announcement was by District Chairman Faraldo who, at the behest of a district member, agreed to convene a special meeting of District 8A after the annual March meeting of the full USTA Board in Columbus, so that the group could learn about and comment upon the actions taken by the association and other activities, as well as be provided an update concerning the advances and changes coming at Yonkers Raceway, especially in view of the closing of NYC OTB. Finally, it was announced that the handle at Yonkers in calendar year 2010 exceeded the handle covering the same number of race dates in 2009 by a whopping $41 million.
Finally, the membership learned that Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York representing the track's horsemen have agreed to commence a pilot program on February 1 altering all of the track's racing distances from the traditional 1 mile to that of 1-1/16. Also, the group was advised of the collaborative effort employed by the track and the SOA in attempting to return the Yonkers' simulcast signal to NYC TV channel 71 (formerly controlled by the now-defunct NYC OTB) in a joint venture with the New York Racing Association (NYRA).
After the successful meeting, all district members were invited to share dinner and camaraderie at the track's Empire Terrace Restaurant.
(District 8A of the United States Trotting Association)