03/04/2010 1:00AM

No decision yet on N.Y. security barn


The New York Racing Association has not made a final decision on whether to eliminate the race-day security barn and/or close Aqueduct for stabling at the conclusion of the meet. Both moves could save the cash-strapped company more than $3 million this year.

Hal Handel, NYRA's president and CEO, said both issues were brought up at Wednesday's Board of Trustees meeting, but there was "no final resolution on either issue," Handel said. "There's internal evaluation and discussion going on and when we have something definitive to say we'll come out with it. It's still being reviewed internally.''

Handel said a decision on both issues "could come at any time."

With the video lottery terminal project on hold pending a federal probe into the bidding process, and with bankrupt New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. owing NYRA more than $15 million, NYRA has found itself in a cash-flow shortfall that could compromise the company's ability to conduct racing at some point during late summer or fall.

NYRA officials have said that closing Aqueduct's stable are would save the company $300,000 a month. Also, the race-day security barn, which opened in 2005, costs about $1.5 million to $2 million annually to maintain.

According to P.J. Campo, NYRA's director of racing, there are approximately 370 horses stabled at Aqueduct. Those horses would either move to Belmont Park or Saratoga, which opens for stabling on April 15. Campo said there are just under 1,500 horses stabled at Belmont, leaving approximately 500 stalls.

Campo said that there would be ample housing at Belmont for those barn employees who currently live on the Aqueduct grounds.