08/10/2008 11:00PM

New York board has new chief

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John Sabini, until recently a state senator from the New York City borough of Queens, has taken over the top spot on the New York State Racing and Wagering Board after a confirmation hearing in the state senate on Friday.

Sabini, who replaces Dan Hogan as chairman of the wagering board, stepped down from his senate seat on Friday so that the Democratic Party in Queens could find another candidate for what is expected to be a tough election battle this fall. He was nominated as chairman of the wagering board by Gov. David Paterson, and will serve a six-year term.

Hogan remains on the board as a member, along with John Simoni.

During the confirmation hearing, Sabini was critical of the New York Racing Association for not doing enough to promote the sport. Sabini was the ranking Democrat on the senate's Racing Committee, and last year was one of the few senators on the committee to offer support to NYRA in its bid to retain the franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga.- Matt Hegarty