Good news travels slowly, if at all.

The Thoroughbred Times reported on June 22 that on June 13, a bill passed the New York State Senate that would support upgrades of the paddock and backstretch areas at tracks where VLTs are operational.

Its about time. And all who are tethered to racing in the state can thank Senator Bill Larkin, the bills author. Politicians generally are very easy targets but not Larkin. He seems to understand what the problems are and acts to correct them.

Imagine, a true public servant.

Part of Larkins bill is a provision that tracks allow for easy access between the racetrack and casino floor in their remodeling plans. Larkin believes any added revenue that might result from added exposure to both forms of wagering would be an aid to education and local municipalities alike.

So what if there is very little, if any, crossover between those handicapping and wagering on the races and those who stare blankly at the bright lights of a video lottery terminal? Handicapping the races does require thinking; primates can be trained to push buttons and pull levers. But I digress.

Its too bad legislation of this kind was not available when Saratoga Gaming and Raceway was remodeled recently. The harness track now has more machines than ever, more food courts, a nightclub and possibly more expansion on the way. Its all very nice, too, very well appointed.

But its sad that no work was done on the front side and particularly on the backside of the harness track. The barn area is in woeful shape and the paddock little more than a cut-out in the outer rail. The horsemen who worked there for the last three decades for virtually no purse money, requiring many of them to maintain a day job, deserved better from Delaware North. Much better.

If it werent for the racetrack there would have been no VLT operation for the Delaware North company to manage. Maybe its not too late. Maybe the company someday will rethink the way they do business.

Meanwhile, props to Senator Larkin, who mixes in the concept of fair play with good business sense.