NYTHA May News Bulletin: Tom Durkin Speaks Out on Behalf of Racing

Tom Durkin Eloquent in Response to Newsday’s Anti-Racing Op/Ed: Last month, the Newsday Editorial Board ran an Op/Ed entitled, “Nassau plans for more gambling revenue ride on Albany” which included a reference to the “dying horse racing industry.” In fact, as the American Horse Council’s economic impact study so clearly demonstrates, the horse industry, and the racing industry in particular, is thriving in New York. The state’s equine industry supports more than 42,000 jobs, with an economic impact of $5.3 billion.

Tom Durkin, serving his first term on the NYTHA Board, penned an eloquent Op/Ed as a counterpoint to that statement. It reads, in part:

The editorial board should look at some facts first before writing our obituary.

Can an industry with a total output to the New York economy of over $5.3 billion ($3.08 billion from the racing sector alone) …be dying?

Can an industry that provides over 30,000 jobs in direct employment and a total impact of 42,000 (almost half from racing) …be dying?

Can the second largest agribusiness (just behind dairy) in New York state…be dying?

Our New York Racing product is the best in the world. Tens of thousands of people on a daily basis buy this product, betting from all over the country and now worldwide. It is big business. It is a vibrant business. So please keep your respirators. It is not a dying industry.

Mark Twain was oh so right. “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

To read the entire response, click here.

BEST Backstretch Clinic Open to New York Owners and Trainers: The BEST Health Center, located in Cottage 58C on the Belmont Park backstretch, is now licensed by the Federal and New York State governments as a Federally Qualified Health Center. The FQHC health care system provides primary health care for 28 million Americans and 100,000 Long Island residents. The primary purpose of the BEST Health Center is to serve the needs of the backstretch workers at Aqueduct and Belmont Park. As an FQHC, the clinic can see additional patients, including New York’s owners and trainers.

“Anyone who possesses a NYRA credential and a New York State Gaming Commission license is eligible for care,” explained BEST Executive Director Paul Ruchames. “Most commercial insurance coverage, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, are accepted. For those without insurance, a sliding fee scale is available. Co-payments and deductibles are due at the time of service. Health Center staff are conversant in Spanish as well as English.”

Ruchames added that BEST has enrollment counselors available on site or by phone to assist anyone interested in acquiring health insurance.

The BEST Health Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walk-ins are accepted, but patients are encouraged to call (516) 724-1497 for an appointment. Click here for the enrollment packet, which must be completed by all new patients.

As for the services available, Ruchames said, “The Best Health Center is a primary care facility that provides comprehensive medical treatment, testing and preventive care for adults. If the services of a specialist are necessary, the BEST Health Center will refer patients to an appropriate physician within the vast FQHC network or to a specialist of the patient`s choice.”

The BEST Health Center does not, at this time, treat workers’ compensation cases.

The clinic also offers a patient portal, a secure website with convenient 24-hour access to health information from anywhere with an internet connection, including medical records and lab results. Patients can also schedule appointments and order medication refills on line.  The link to the patient portal is https://health.eclinicalworks.com/LIFQHC.

For more information, call Vivian Muniz at the BEST Office at (516) 488-3434, ext. 140.

NYTHA Hosts CE Course on DOL Regulations at Belmont May 23: NYTHA will host a CE Seminar on Department of Labor regulations Wednesday, May 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Turf and Field Room on the fourth floor at Belmont Park. Trainers and assistant trainers who attend the seminar, entitled “Keeping Up with the Ever-Changing World of New York State and Federal Labor Law,” will earn two hours on continuing education credit toward the New York State Gaming Commission’s four-hour annual CE requirement.

Ben Wilkinson, an attorney at Hinman Straub PC, will conduct the presentation, which will focus on Department of Labor regulations that impact horse trainers. Topics will include updates to minimum wage regulations, proper tracking of time and wages, record-keeping requirements, and how to deal with wage and hour audits, as well as recent changes to NYS law on sexual harassment in the workplace. Mr. Wilkinson is a principal attorney in the Firm’s Labor and Employment and Litigation departments, primarily representing individuals and employers in administrative matters before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and NYS Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR) and federal and state courts regarding claims of alleged unlawful employment actions. Mr. Wilkinson also regularly advises clients in the areas of wage and hour law compliance, family medical leave law compliance, and federal and state discrimination laws.

There will be a 90-minute presentation, followed by a 30-minute Q&A. A light lunch will be served.

For more information on Continuing Education, and links to on-line courses available, go to the NYTHA website, https://nytha.com/members/continuing-education/.

Attention Trainers! Make Sure Exercise Riders Are Properly Licensed: Please be sure to verify that exercise riders – and all employees – are properly licensed. If an exercise rider suffers a work-related injury and does not hold a valid exercise rider’s license, that employee will NOT be covered by the New York Jockey Injury Compensation Fund worker’s compensation policy, and the claim will be filed against the trainer’s own worker’s comp policy.

The Fund to Host Public Forum at Belmont Park: The New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund will host a public forum for the breeding and racing industries at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 2. The event will be held in the Turf and Field Room on the fourth floor of the clubhouse, starting at 10 a.m.

NYTB Executive Director Jeff Cannizzo, a member of The Fund Board, explained, “The aim is to elicit feedback from a broad spectrum of program participants about New York awards incentives and program rules. The Fund hopes to hear from a wide range of program participants. Issues likely to be covered include the structuring and percentages of the categories of awards (breeder, stallion owner, owner), the status of New York’s stallion roster and rules covering mare residency and breed-back. You can see a preview of some prospective topics by taking the Fund’s brief online survey.”

Cannizzo added, “I would like to assure program participants that no program changes are in the works. These forums and the Fund survey are simply part of a fact-finding mission so that the Fund Board can get a clearer idea of the needs, opinions and suggestions of a broad cross-section of constituents. That said, the incentive program affects the lives and businesses of all, so I believe all participants should listen to what fellow stakeholders are thinking and make their views known.”

Click here for more information.

TCA Founders Celebration and Cocktail Party at Timonium: The Thoroughbred Charities of America will host the Founders Celebration and Cocktail Party, to “honor the past and preserve the future” of the organization. The event will be held Sunday, May 20, 2018, from 4-6 p.m., in the Grandstand Grille in the Timonium OTB at the Maryland Fairgrounds, Timonium, Maryland. Tickets are $50 per person, which includes appetizers, wine, and beer. Click here to purchase tickets.

All proceeds will benefit the TCA endowment, to ensure the continued good work started by Allaire duPont and Herb and Ellen Moelis for years to come.

NYRA Reinstitutes Backstretch Parking Sticker Program: NYRA is asking all horsemen to stop by the credentials office in the Belmont Park clubhouse lobby to pick up parking stickers, which are now required for access to the barn area at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. You will need to bring your car registration to be issued a sticker, and can renew your credentials, if necessary, at the same time. In Saratoga, parking stickers are available in the NYRA credential office at the west end of the grandstand.

Save The Date!
Belmont Child Care Association Benefit: Thursday, May 31, 2018, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Spring Fling Hat Luncheon and Fashion Show at the Garden City Hotel, honoring Nancy Kelly, Thoroughbred Industry Honoree, and Roberta Doheny, Community Honoree. For tickets and information, go to: http://www.501auctions.com/bccaspringfling.

NYTHA General Membership Meeting, Monday, July 23, 2017, at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion, Saratoga Springs, NY

NYTHA PAC Golf Outing, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at Rockville Links, Rockville Centre, NY

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