03/15/2006 1:00AM

Etc. . . .


Empire Racing Associates, the company formed last week that intends to raise funds from horsemen to lobby for changes to New York's racing laws, has hired Glen Mathes, the former communications director for the New York Racing Association, to be its director of communications, according to Jeff Perlee, the chief executive of Empire. Mathes, 54, retired from NYRA in 2005. . . . Federal legislation that would prohibit gambling over the Internet on anything but horse racing passed out of the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday morning, according to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. . . . The Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing, which is developing recommendations about the franchise to operate three racetracks in New York and a slot-machine casino at Aqueduct, has scheduled a public hearing on March 23 to take input from racing fans. The hearing will be held from 5 to 9 pm. at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. . . . Saint Liam, who clinched his Horse of the Year campaign with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park, led the 2005 award winners announced Wednesday by the New York Turf Writers' Association. The winners will be honored at the group's dinner-dance on Aug. 20 at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs.