In response to Joe Faraldo's "N.Y. horse racing a good bet," Aug.23, he touched upon many great points in the debate about the effect of video lottery terminals on the health of horse racing.
Being associated with horse racing in various ways in the last 35 years, my view has been skeptical of the effect of the VLTs. My concern has been that, over time, the VLT operators would lobby to discontinue the horse racing, which loses money in some instances.
I think the New York Racing Association tracks will be fine, and certainly the successful Saratoga Race Course meet will continue to do great with the increase in purses, keeping the best horses there in the future.
Looking at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway harness track is a different story, though. I do not know the track handle figures but, from going there over many years and seeing the parimutuel pool totals, I don't believe it has helped the racing there to any extent. It is often sad to see the harness track's win pool total way under $3,000 per race and less than 100 people watching the live races.
As Mr. Faraldo noted, the days of Roosevelt Raceway are gone forever. The question is: Will harness racing survive the times? More study is needed.