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'Industry Has Not Listened To Fans'

Published: September 2, 2011 11:50 am ET

Last Comment: September 2, 2011 7:51 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Friday, September 2, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John D. Sabini announced that members of the newly-formed Racing Fan Advisory Council will provide input and advice to the board on horse racing and wagering matters in New York State.

The council consists of individuals steeped in both thoroughbred and harness racing, as well as off-track betting enterprises. The council will examine the “total racing experience” and report its findings to the board.

“As this council will demonstrate, horse racing survives and thrives on dedication of its fans,” Sabini said. “For too long, the industry has not listened to the voice of truly devoted horse racing enthusiasts. These exceptional individuals will showcase what fans want to see, hear and experience at our tracks, and we stand ready to listen and make all horse racing a viable attraction for countless more fans.”

The council, formalized by the Racing and Wagering Board in June, is composed of long-term horse racing fans, selected on their involvement, interest, knowledge and devotion to the sport.

The members include:

  • Chair: Patrick M. Connors, Professor of Law, Albany Law School: Professor Connors has been an avid fan of horse racing since 1989 and has made several presentations at Albany Law’s annual Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law. He has been a law professor for 20 years at both Syracuse University College of Law and Albany Law School. A prolifically published scholar, he has been an active member of several New York State Bar Association Committees and has given dozens of legal presentations across the state. Professor Connors resides in Saratoga Springs, graduated from Georgetown University and obtained his law degree at St. John’s University School of Law.
  • Michael F. Amo, Chair and Co-Founder, Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc. (ThoroFan): Mr. Amo has been a thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast for over 30 years. He was first introduced to the sport by a friend who took him to the 1978 Belmont Stakes and soon began travelling the country attending racing meets as his regular vacation away from a career as a hospital administrator. Amo has served on the board of several not-for-profit organizations and is co-owner of a health care consulting business, as well as a published author. A Central Valley resident, Amo also serves as an Orange County legislator.
  • Allan Carter, Historian, The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame: Since 2003, Mr. Carter has worked at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. For more than 20 years prior, Carter was a legal librarian at the New York State Library. Carter served in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1967 and worked as a technical writer at Knolls Atomic Power Plant. A Glens Falls native, Carter resides in Saratoga Springs and received a Master’s Degree in Library Science from SUNY Albany.
  • M. Kelly Young, Associate Director of National Affairs, New York Farm Bureau: Young has been an active participant in the world of harness racing since 1995, when she worked as an office assistant at the Goshen Historic Track during the summer. Young is a member of the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame’s board of directors and a former executive director of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. She has written several award-winning articles on standardbred racing. An Albany resident, Young has a B.A. in Biology from Boston University.

The Racing Fan Advisory Council’s mission is to grow the fan base related to the sport of horse racing by:

  • Recommending procedures to ensure that the opinion of the fan is a central part of the regulation of horse racing and advising the board on issues related to horse racing and wagering.
  • Advising the board on appropriate actions to encourage fan attendance and wagering at the state's thoroughbred and harness racetracks and the state's off-track betting corporations.
  • Visiting board-controlled racetracks and facilities during race times, workouts, and during hours when members of the media are permitted to be present at the facilities.
  • Advising the board on the creation and development of an “I LOVE NY Racing” promotion.
  • Giving an annual, non-monetary award to both a thoroughbred and standardbred breeding farm in New York State that has worked to promote horse racing in New York.
  • Recommending changes to the rules of the board and to the laws affecting horse racing.
  • Preparing an annual report to the board regarding the operation of the state's thoroughbred and harness racetracks and the state's off-track betting corporations.

A fifth member of the council will be named at a later date.

No members are current Racing and Wagering Board employees, lobbyists, officers of any racetrack, OTB or any non-profit that represents breeders or horsemen. Three members are appointed by the Racing and Wagering Board Chairman and two are appointed by the chairs of the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering and the Assembly Committee on Racing and Wagering. Each member serves a five-year unpaid term.

September 2, 2011 - 7:51 pmThat fifth person better

Allan Schott SAID...

That fifth person better have harness racing connections otherwise only one of the five members will represent harness racing.

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