05/28/2007 12:00AM

Developer joins New York franchise bid


A New York real estate development company has reached an agreement to buy a 20 percent stake in Capital Play Inc., one of four companies that made presentations earlier this year to a state panel evaluating the future of the franchise held by the New York Racing Association, according to Capital Play.

Related Companies, which was founded by Stephen Ross, purchased the stake and will serve as a partner with Capital Play in any development projects at the franchise's three tracks, Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga, Capital Play said.

Capital Play is led by an Australian-based bookmaking company. Other partners in the project include Plainfield Asset Management, which has agreed to provide equity to the group, and CIBC World Markets, which has agreed to finance the group's debt.

NYRA's franchise to operate the three tracks and a casino at Aqueduct expires at the end of this year. A state panel led by Gov. Eliot Spitzer held two days of hearings in April from potential bidders for the franchise, but the panel has yet to issue any public recommendations.