03/07/2007 12:00AM

Six in running in New York

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Six companies - including two new bidders - contacted the office of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer by the Tuesday night deadline, making them eligible to bid for the franchise held by the New York Racing Association, Gov. Spitzer said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The bidders include the four companies that submitted proposals to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing last year to take over the franchise: Capital Play, Empire Racing Associates, Excelsior Racing Associates, and NYRA. In addition, Catskill Regional Off Track Betting Corporation, an upstate county-owned OTB company, and a group called Thoroughbred Racing-NY submitted letters of interest.

Paul Larabee, a spokesman for Gov. Spitzer, said that he did not know the principals who form Thoroughbred Racing-NY, and referred questions to the attorney, Sid Davidoff, of the New York firm Davidoff, Malito, and Hutcher, who submitted the letter of interest. An assistant for Davidoff said he was out of the country until Friday.

Spitzer announced late in February that he would convene public hearings to hear proposals to operate the franchise, which expires on Dec. 31. The franchise includes the right to operate Aqueduct, Belmont, Saratoga, and a yet-to-be-opened casino at Aqueduct.

Larabee said that a schedule to hear the proposals has not yet been determined. The hearings are expected to be held within the next two months.