11/07/2012 5:10PM

New York Racing Association board meetings to be open to public, chairman says

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David Skorton, the Cornell University president who was recently appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as the new chairman of the New York Racing Association board, said on Wednesday that all meetings of the NYRA board would be open to the public, according to an announcement sent by his college’s press office.

Skorton made the announcement after meeting on Wednesday at Aqueduct with management of NYRA, officials of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, and representatives of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Skorton had also scheduled a meeting with reporters that afternoon, but the meeting was cancelled after Aqueduct called off racing for Wednesday because of adverse weather conditions.

Skorton was one of eight individuals appointed to the NYRA board by Cuomo following his approval of legislation mandating the dissolution of the previous board for one controlled by state appointees. Under state law, government organizations are required to conduct their meetings in manner that is open to the public. The new NYRA board has a three-year tenure.

In the release, Skorton said the first meeting of the board would take place in Manhattan at a date that has yet to be determined in December.

Skorton also said that his first priority would be to implement the recommendations of a task force that released a report in early October examining a spate of catastrophic breakdowns at Aqueduct earlier this year.

“These findings and recommendations will likely require material changes in operations and protocols at NYRA racetracks,” Skorton said.

Following the release of the report, the New York racing and wagering board passed a number of new rules governing the administration of corticosteroids and record-keeping by trainers and veterinarians, in line with the report’s recommendations. The report had also been critical of a structure at NYRA in which examining veterinarians reported to the racing office.