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Group wants to add to RFP

Fellow owner Tracy Farmer reiterated Oxley's statement with a quote from famed sports writer Red Smith: "To get to Saratoga from New York City, you travel about 150 miles north, turn onto Union Avenue and travel back in time to the mid-19th century. Its elegance and charm is why Saratoga has been selected as among the top 10 sports venues of the 20th century."

Ed Lewi of Ed Lewi Associates, NYRA's public relations firm, said at the press conference that NYRA has always sought and received city approval before making architectural changes to the racecourse facility.

Dalton said the Concerned Citizens for Saratoga Racing has not put its weight behind any particular bidder, but will not endorse any bidder that doesn't adhere to the group's nine points. He said the group has petitioned the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing to adopt all nine points, but so far the response he has received is that the two additional points are implied in the RFP. This does not satisfy Dalton.

"I was pleased to see seven of the nine included but disappointed not to see two of them," he said. "It has to be in documents by the state. Promises don't count."

Dalton also said the group would only endorse a bidder who recognizes that gambling machines, like video lottery terminals, should play a supporting role to thoroughbred racing, and not the other way around. When asked if the race course should accommodate VLTs, in the face of increased public demand, Dalton said the track and lottery terminals should remain separate.

"Right down the street, we've got a great facility that is willing to expand," he said of the Nelson Street racino.

Dalton said he would hate to see Saratoga go the way of Florida's Gulfstream Park, whose sizeable grandstand was reduced to 900 seats after a renovation that included the introduction of VLTs. Dogwood Stables owner Cot Campbell agreed, saying other race courses have lost their appeal with the addition of VLTs. He does not want to see that happen to Saratoga.

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