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NYRA Tracks Take Harness Racing Simulcast

Published: August 5, 2011 3:07 pm ET

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New York State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John D. Sabini today announced that the Board approved simulcasting of New York-based harness races at the three thoroughbred tracks operated by the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

Beginning today, fans who wish to watch and wager on races at Batavia Downs, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Harness, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and Yonkers Raceway (already approved by the Board), may do so at the Belmont Café and Aqueduct simulcast centers, as well as Saratoga Race Course during their respective business hours. The races can also be bet via NYRA’s account wagering system.

“Opening harness racing to more fans is a common-sense move that will increase handle and continue to help tracks across the state make up for revenue lost when New York City OTB closed,” said Chairman Sabini. “Plus, NYRA has yet another excellent New York-based product to showcase at its facilities. With these approvals, New York’s entire horse racing industry is stronger and more viable for the future.”

Charles Hayward, President and CEO of NYRA, said, “We would like to thank Chairman Sabini and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for approving the simulcast of New York harness tracks. This will allow our customers at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga, in addition to our NYRA Rewards account holders, to wager on all the harness racing that New York has to offer."

“Monticello Casino and Raceway is thrilled to have its racing showcased at NYRA’s tracks, as it will bring more attention to our facility, increase handle and provide more options for harness bettors everywhere," said Joseph D’Amato, CEO of Empire Resorts/Monticello Casino and Raceway. "We applaud the Racing and Wagering Board’s approval of this measure.”

“We’re very excited that NYRA will be offering wagering on Saratoga Harness to its customers," added John Matarazzo, Director of Racing Operations at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. "Prior to New York City OTB’s closure there was considerable interest in our racing in the downstate market and we’re confident that this will rekindle that interest. We are grateful to NYRA and the Racing and Wagering Board for their efforts to promote New York racing.”

“This simulcast approval is another smart and responsible move by Chairman Sabini and the Board on behalf of New York’s harness tracks," said Jason Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing and Simulcast for Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. "This exciting development will expose our quality racing product to more fans, which is great news for harness racing and the entire industry.”

(With files from NYRA)

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