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NYRA hit with tax warrant

| Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York Racing Association has been hit with a tax warrant for failure to pay $1.125 million in taxes and penalties for admission charges and bets, according to a copy of the warrant.

The tax warrant dated Tuesday and issued by the state involves NYRA's property in Queens, which includes the Aqueduct race track. The warrant states NYRA owes $70,000 in penalties and interest on the delinquent tax bills dating to November and December on two properties.

NYRA is a private organization that operates thoroughbred horse racing in New York at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga race tracks. NYRA has run New York racing on a state franchise since 1955, but the latest extension is to expire Dec. 31, 2007.

NYRA president Charles Hayward said NYRA informed the governor's office it wouldn't pay the November and December tax bill, adding its priority was to first bring stability to the struggling association. NYRA has received $1 million from the state and a $5 million loan from the state Lottery Division as part of a state bailout.

"We've been working with the governor's office, and we're confident that (bailout) is going to go through and as soon as we get that financial relief, we'll deal with this issue," Hayward said.

NYRA is negotiating another $20 million to $25 million package from the state. NYRA also plans to pay tax bills from its video slot machine revenue. Those machines are expected to be providing revenue in the fall.

A tax warrant is publicly filed and secures the state's interest in property. It also can block a land holder from selling the property or taking out loans, and can affect the property owner's credit rating.

Horse racing

Maryland racing officials lifted the quarantine at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course after no new cases of equine herpes virus were found. A trackwide quarantine was placed on the home of the Preakness Stakes on Jan. 21 after 11 horses showed signs of equine herpesvirus-1. Three of the horses were euthanized, while eight were held in an isolation barn.

Baseball

The Milwaukee Brewers and center fielder Brady Clark agreed to a two-year deal worth $7 million and avoided a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday. Clark led the Brewers with a .306 batting average and 94 runs scored last year, his first season as a regular starter. He had 13 homers and 53 RBI.

  • A $13.5 million bleacher expansion project at Wrigley Field is on schedule to be completed by Opening Day and will add about 1,800 seats to the second oldest ballpark in the major leagues. The expansion will give the Chicago Cubs' home a seating capacity of just more than 41,000, said Mark McGuire, the team's vice president of business operations. McGuire said the look of the neighborhood park, surrounded by restaurants and bars, would not change drastically.

  • Major League Baseball responded skeptically to a revised lease for the Washington Nationals that was approved early yesterday by the District of Columbia Council, which rejected an earlier proposal just hours before. During a series of sessions that began Tuesday and lasted more than 14 hours, council members rejected the lease, 8-5, then approved it, 9-4, after capping the city's spending at just under $611 million.

  • The Nationals have offered a non-guaranteed, incentive-laden major league contract to Sammy Sosa, assistant general manager Tony Siegle said yesterday. The Nationals were awaiting a response from Sosa, who ranks seventh on the career home run list with 574. He hit .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBI last year in his only season with the Baltimore Orioles.

  • Minnesota's Wayne Krivsky was hired yesterday as the Cincinnati Reds' next general manager, ending a two-week search that involved eight candidates.

    Basketball

    Tim Duncan missed his first game of the season, sitting out the San Antonio Spurs' matchup against the Toronto Raptors last night due to flu-like symptoms.

    Motor sports

    In Phoenix, NASCAR driver Kurt Busch was ordered yesterday to perform 50 hours of community service as part of a plea agreement over a reckless driving citation he received near Phoenix International Raceway. His lawyer, Lee Stein, said his client admitted to speeding, a misdemeanor, and two civil citations: following too closely and passing in a no-passing zone. In exchange, the reckless driving charge was dropped.

    Tennis

    In Paris, former champion Mary Pierce beat Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain, 6-2, 6-4, in the second round of the Gaz de France tournament yesterday.

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