The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA; pronounced /ny-rə/) is the not-for-profit corporation that operates the three largest thoroughbred horse-racing tracks in the state of New York. It runs Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, Queens; Belmont Park in Elmont, Long Island (just outside New York City); and Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs (Upstate), New York. NYRA’s corporate offices are headquartered at the Aqueduct Race Track.
The corporation is the successor to the Greater New York Association, a non profit racing association created in 1955.
NYRA is separate from New York State Racing and Wagering Board, the governing body that oversees racing in New York.
In 1913, racing returned to New York after a hiatus. Only four tracks had survived the hiatus. These were Aqueduct Racetrack (the Big A), Belmont Park, Jamaica Racetrack and Saratoga Race Course. The tracks came under common ownership with the creation of a non-profit association known as the Greater New York Association in 1955. The association remodeled Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course and demolished Jamaica, which is now the Rochdale Village housing development. The partnership became the New York Racing Association on April 10, 1958. Later, Belmont Park was closed from 1963 to 1968 in order to construct a new grandstand.
From December, 2003 through September, 2005, NYRA operated under a deferred prosecution agreement following a 2003 federal indictment. The charges related alleged income tax evasion and money laundering by mutuel clerks between 1980 and 1999 with the knowledge of NYRA middle managers. Under the agreement, NYRA paid $3 million to the government and its implementation of new cash-handling procedures designed to eliminate corruption and mismanagement was monitored by a New York law firm. After receiving a report from the monitor which concluded that NYRA was in compliance with the new guidelines, the Justice Department moved to dismiss the indictment and its motion was allowed by a federal judge.
NYRA, claiming that the state lottery division’s failure to approve the installation of video-lottery terminal (VLT) machines at Aqueduct Racetrack pushed it to insolvency, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 2, 2006. The association emerged from bankruptcy protection September 12, 2008 with incorporation of a successor corporation, New York Racing Association Inc.