No horse racing enthusiast, whether in the United States or anywhere else, can claim to be unaware of names such as Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct. The New York Racing Association has conducted events at these glorious race tracks for more than half a century. The horse racing world has witnessed some of the most exciting events at these race tracks, and riders dream of riding to victory at these legendary sites.
2006 will be a watershed year for these Albany race tracks, whether the present licensee wins the rights yet again or not, for the State will invite fresh bids for rights to operate these 3 race tracks. Bids will close in a few weeks and it should not take overly long to select a winner either. The rights to operate Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct have enormous implications for all those with stakes in horse racing. The license is especially attractive because it involves no levies for the State, and confers rights for 2 decades at a time. These features combine to make it very profitable to invest in long term amenity enhancement for top quality horse racing.
Thousands of service providers for various product and service categories will be affected as well, as will owners, riders, stewards, bookies and punters. So there is really a big deal riding on the bids which must already be under preparation. The New York Racing Association has a clear lead because of its long track record, but one never knows if a new operator can do better.