With 18 days remaining to the end of racing in New York for the year, and possibly beyond, no progress has been made made in Albany.

It seems all parties are content to treat New Yorks racing industry with the same respect it normally reserves for the budget process: It will get done when it gets done. So what if its late?

Nobody in the Assembly, absolutely nobody, knows whats going on, Assemblyman Roy McDonald of Wilton told the local newspaper, the Saratogian.

Instead of sitting by our phones, we should be in Albany at our desks, doing things, McDonald added. Its a terrible way to do business. Its so unprofessional its embarrassing.

The State Senate will be in the Capitol today, presumably doing something. The Assembly will not.

Dont suppose that matters. The Democratic majority in the Assembly is expected to rubber-stamp whatever compromise is reached between fellow Democrat Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the Republican Senate led by its Majority Leader, Senator Joe Bruno.

The whispers and hunches we hear, and have, is that the Governor will get off the 30-year extension for the New York Racing Assn and perhaps try to convince the Assembly to accept a casino operation at Belmont Park.

For this, Bruno gets off his state-appointed public authority plan and actually allows NYRA to conduct its marketing and simulcast operations, like any real company. It could be, too, that he wants Capital Play to replace Excelsior Associates as the gaming operators.

The NYRA would probably have to cave somewhat and seriously reduce the current number of NYRA-elected Trustees on its Board. And, of course, cede the the title of the properties to the state.

But, at this point, who really knows anything?

Theres no date for the Assembly to return to Albany this month, and there wont until some progress is made between Spitzers and Brunos people. A Bruno spokesperson said that some progress has been made and that theyre really arent any differences that cannot be overcome. But don't be surprised if that involves a short extension beyond the Dec. 31 deadline.

So all this is unprofessional and embarrassing. Thats true. But theres another word for it, as this situation affects every citizen in this state. That word is criminal.