I was driving down East Avenue about 9:45 Friday morning and a gray horse in full stride was approaching the quarter pole at the Oklahoma Training Track.

That late in the day, it could have been the final work horse of the morning. This late in the season, it could have been the final workout at the facility on Union Avenue directly across from Americas most storied racetrack.

Yesterday was the final day of training in Saratoga until next spring. Probably, maybe, could be.

I know, racing has always survived. But I confess to feeling a wave of nostalgia sweep over me. This year has been a little different. A clock has been ticking.

Senator Joseph Bruno was on a local network Thursday night telling a reporter that his committee has been having good talks with the Executives people regarding the extension of the franchise, any franchise, to conduct major league racing in New York in 2008 and beyond.

Bruno said a deal might even get done around Thanksgiving and that his people are ready at a moments notice to ship back to Albany and seal the deal. He said that the House of Representatives was ready to do the same. But its going to take compromise.

Which means that some of the Senates ill advised plan could be adopted. Or not. But it certainly appears that if the NYRA is invited back to conduct racing, it wont be for 30 years as was proposed earlier by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Indeed, 30 years now appears to be off the table.

And New York City has gotten into the act, too. Its Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, has threatened to shutter OTB by the end of June. Cant say you can blame him. NYC-OTB made $125 million last year on handle of $1 billion but realized a net loss of $9 million because it had to pay the state $134 million.

Bloomberg says he wont prop up a sagging thoroughbred industry with NYC dollars. What dollars is he referring to? The rights fees that every existing simulcast outfit pays in signal rights?


NYC-OTB and the other regions are living with a bad deal made with the state. For the right to simulcast thoroughbred racing on an unlimited basis, it agreed to pay the cost of maintaining the State Racing and Wagering Board.

Outrageous that the state would essentially blackmail counties and municipalities to pay for the operation of a regulatory state agency. Only in New York.

No wonder I felt a longing for a simpler time when, if things weren't all they could be, events weren't as non-sensical as they are now.