08/17/2005 11:00PM

NYRA, horsemen to talk


The New York Racing Association has agreed to meet with representatives of horsemen to discuss how best to run raceday security barns, officials for NYRA and the state's horsemen's association said Wednesday after a meeting at Saratoga Racecourse.

The security barn, first implemented at Belmont Park earlier this year, has become a focus of complaints for some trainers. The horsemen have contended that NYRA did not adequately prepare the barn at Saratoga and have criticized the size of the stalls, their floor coverings, and ventilation.

Of the planned meeting, Bill Nader, NYRA's senior vice president, said, "We feel like we can certainly get some good input."

Trainers are required to move their horses to the barn six hours before post time on race days. Access to the horses is strictly controlled during that time period. NYRA officials implemented the barn to curb illegal medication use.

Richard Bomze, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, said he supported discussing the barns, although "it was obvious they should have done it beforehand."

Other topics at the meeting included an update on the revenue horsemen will derive from 4,500 slot machines at a planned casino at NYRA's Aqueduct racetrack.

Both Nader and Bomze said an agreement on the revenue is almost finalized. The agreement would give horsemen 7.25 percent of the revenue initially, rising to 10 percent after NYRA repays a $170 million loan from its partner, MGM Grand.