10/08/2007 11:00PM

Four N.Y. franchise bidders to face Senate panel

EmailAll four companies that have previously expressed interest in operating the franchise currently held by the New York Racing Association plan to make presentations to the New York Senate's Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering on Wednesday morning, officials for the companies and the committee said.

NYRA, Empire Racing Associates, Excelsior Racing Associates, and Capital Play will each make presentations during the hearing, the fourth called by the committee over the past month to discuss issues revolving around the award of the franchise.

While officials for NYRA, Empire, and Capital Play said on Monday that they would make presentations, an official of Excelsior Racing Associates declined to comment when asked whether the group would participate. However, Steve Casscles, the counsel for the chairman of the committee, Sen. Bill Larkin, said on Tuesday that Excelsior has informed the office that it will make a presentation at the hearing.

In September, Gov. Eliot Spitzer recommended that NYRA receive a 30-year extension to its franchise in exchange for the state taking title to the three franchise tracks, Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. Any plan to award the franchise has to be approved by the executive and legislative branches.