07/14/2006 12:00AM

New York panel shifts dates


The committee overseeing the bidding process for the franchise held by the New York Racing Association has pushed back its deadlines by two weeks because of the recent hospitalization of its executive director, the committee announced Friday.

Robert Williams, the executive director of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing, was admitted to the hospital on June 30 with a serious leg infection, according to a statement from the committee. Williams spent several days in the hospital and at home recuperating, but "is now back hard at work," the statement said.

On June 13, the committee issued a request for proposals to operate Aqueduct, Belmont, Saratoga Race Course, and a casino at Aqueduct for the next 20 years. NYRA's franchise to operate the tracks expires on Dec. 31, 2007.

Under the previous schedule, the committee was expected to release responses to inquiries from bidders about the request for proposals by July 15. That date has been revised to July 29.

In addition, the two major deadlines in the process have also been pushed back. Bidders were required to submit responses to the request for proposals by Aug. 15, and the committee was scheduled to release its recommendations to the state legislature and governor on Sept. 15. Those dates will now be Aug. 29 and Sept. 29.

Sixteen companies notified the committee by a deadline of June 30 that they intended to respond to the request for proposals. The companies include NYRA, Churchill Downs, Magna Entertainment Corp., and several casino companies and real-estate partnerships.