11/15/2006 12:00AM

Yonkers opening for races again


Yonkers Raceway, the half-mile harness track and casino just north of New York City, is scheduled to reopen for live racing for the first time in 16 months on Friday.

Ten races have been scheduled for Friday night on the track's first live racing program since the facility was closed for renovations in June 2005, to accommodate 5,500 slot machines ultimately. Yonkers opened the door to a limited portion of its casino holding 1,870 slot machines on Oct. 11.

When the full casino is open later this year, Yonkers is expected to be one of the highest-grossing casinos on the East Coast and will compete with a casino expected to be opened at Aqueduct in Queens. The Aqueduct casino has not yet been approved by state agencies and is not expected to open until late 2007 at the earliest.

In its first week of opening, the Yonkers casino had net revenue of $3.8 million. The next-best operating casino in New York, Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, had net revenue of $2.3 million from 1,331 machines during the same period.

Earlier this year, Yonkers was sued by the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, which alleged that the track promised horsemen that racing would be suspended for only four months while the casino was built. The lawsuit was settled out of court.