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Vernon to re-open as tracks receive $90 million

February 13, 2008

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Jeff Gural, principal owner of Vernon Downs, announced Wednesday that with the passage in the New York legislature of tax-relief legislation that will reportedly bring that track approximately $5 million annually (42 percent of video lottery terminal revenues) the site will re-open on Thursday at 9 a.m. The track had closed in the early morning hours of Monday, Feb. 11.


\"This is wonderful news for Vernon Downs employees and guests,\" said Gural in a press release issued by the track. Gural added he plans on compensating all of Vernon Downs’ employees for their days of lost wages.


“Now we will put this behind us and move forward with plans for expansion at the property and look forward to (live) racing beginning in April,\" added Gural.


The total package will reportedly bring a total of $90 million in tax relief to the state’s harness racetracks that also have video lottery terminal parlors. A previous bill that would have provided approximately $60 million was turned down by an Assembly Committee just prior to the closing of Vernon.


“The comprehensive legislative approach contained in this bill, which was long advocated by horsemen, breeders and the agriculture industry across the state, includes key components such as mandated percentages for horsemen and breeders and minimum racing days at racinos,” said Standardbred Owners Association of New York president Joe Faraldo in a press release. “This will ensure that New York’s Standardbred racing and breeding products remain the finest in the nation. We horsemen and breeders, who are heavily invested in this industry and understand better than anyone that we need the tracks and their VLT facilities to succeed for us to prosper, are happy to stand together with New York’s track owners in supporting this compromise.”

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