#New York Thoroughbred Industry
NYS Legislature and Governor Paterson
United States of America

Many people know that New York State is home to the world famous Belmont Stakes and Saratoga Racetrack; the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the United States, but many would be shocked and dismayed to hear the state horse racing and breeding industry is on the brink of collapse.

New York is home to over 400 breeding farms where over 44,000 thoroughbreds reside, utilizing 43,000 acres of working landscape or “green space”. Most thoroughbred farms are small, family owned operations that are fighting for survival. The imminent failure of thoroughbred farms in New York imperils an industry that supports more than 30,000 jobs and that has a $4.8 billion annual impact on New York’s economy with related goods and services valued at nearly $2.4 billion.

The continued absence of video lottery terminals (VLT’s) at Aqueduct Race Track that could produce a million dollars a day in state revenue and preserve an industry that has been an economic engine of success is inexplicable at a time of fiscal crisis. Competition from other states is already threatening our in-state breeding program. Businesses that would otherwise come to New York are fleeing to other states where they can compete for VLT revenues. A significant number of mares are now being sent to Pennsylvania, for example. As a result, many thoroughbred farms and breeders are struggling to pay the bills and stay afloat. Farm owners, workers, and countless industry suppliers are in desperate need of VLT revenues to invest BACK into the breeding farms, keeping that money in the local economy, creating more jobs, and strengthening the horseracing industry in New York.

The current chaos in the NYS Senate threatens to delay VLTs at Aqueduct even further. The Paterson Administration has set an August 1 deadline for the bidders seeking the contract to run the VLT operations. However, any contract would need the approval of both the leader of the state Assembly and the Senate. While politicians in Albany fight over who’s in charge, the breeding and racing community is on the brink of financial ruin with thousands of jobs at stake.

Swift action is needed to finally make Aqueduct VLTs a reality, pump millions of dollars into the state’s education funds and preserve the thoroughbred breeding and racing industry.

We, the undersigned, call upon the NYS Legislature and Governor Paterson to finally approve the efforts to make video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Racetrack at reality. Fulfilling the state’s promise from nearly eight years ago to bring VLTs to Aqueduct will result in much needed revenue for the horse racing and breeding industry and the state of New York.

Thoroughbred horse racing and breeding accounts for 55 percent of New York’s equine industry – the number one agricultural sector of the state’s economy. Thoroughbred racing and breeding produces 30,000 in-state jobs and billions of dollars for our economy. The current economic crisis and competition from our neighboring states threatens to devastate racing and breeding in New York.

We respectfully request the New York State Legislative leaders and Governor Paterson act quickly to our urgent need and save New York’s thoroughbred racing and breeding industry.

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The Legislative Leaders, Governor Paterson; Act now to Save our Family Farms! petition to NYS Legislature and Governor Paterson was written by New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. and is in the category Miscellaneous at GoPetition.