03/23/2006 12:00AM

New York panels discuss future

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The Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing in New York held three panel discussions on Thursday in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in an effort to inform members of the committee about issues critical to the racing industry.

The talks, held at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, focused on the general state of the national racing and breeding industries, along with racing medication, integrity, and backstretch issues, according to Mike Kane, the communications director for the Hall of Fame.

A total of 12 speakers gave presentations, including Keith Chamblin, a National Thorough-bred Racing Association vice president; Scott Waterman, the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium; Nancy Kelly, the chair of the Backstretch Employee Services Team; and Cary Fotias, a horseplayer who was a member of a players' panel set up by the NTRA several years ago.

The slate of discussions was the third meeting held by the committee in a public setting since being formed late last year. The committee's job is to develop recommendations for the legislature on how to award the franchise to operate three tracks - Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga - along with a slot-machine casino at Aqueduct. The current franchise, held by the New York Racing Association, expires on Dec. 31, 2007.