03/26/2007 11:00PM

Catskill drops out of NY chase

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Catskill Off-Track Betting Corporation, the upstate New York county-owned OTB company, will no longer seek the franchise held by the New York Racing Association, the head of the corporation said in a statement.

Donald Groth, the longtime president of Catskill OTB, said the company had decided to drop out because of a government panel's requirement for a $100,000 retainer for expenses related to a background check designed to assess any future franchiseholder's integrity. Groth said he thinks Catskill's reports to state regulators are adequate to determine the company's integrity, and he criticized the use of public money for the assessment.

"Catskill OTB could not agree to such a large payment of public monies which would still further certify Catskill's well-studied integrity," Groth wrote in a letter sent to the panel.