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State expected to lend NYRA $25M to keep tracks open

New York state is expected to lend the New York Racing Association $25 million to preserve thoroughbred racing seasons at Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct.

New York state is expected to lend the New York Racing Association $25 million to preserve thoroughbred racing seasons at Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct.

The NYRA loan is included in a measure from Gov. David Paterson to extend basic state operations in the absence of an approved budget for this year. It would have to be repaid by March 31 or within 30 days of a state pact with a contractor to install video lottery terminals at Aqueduct.

The NYRA last week notified more than 1,400 workers the cash-strapped racing operator might have to close tracks after the Belmont Stakes.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he's supportive of the loan.

Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran says that chamber expects the appropriation bill to pass.


* The Florida Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear the NCAA's appeal of lower-court rulings that forced the athletics organization to publicly release records on academic cheating at Florida State. At a hearing last year, NCAA vice president David Berst had testified such a decision would set a precedent that would "rip the heart out" of the organization's efforts to ensure competition is fair and equal. The records, including a hearing transcript, were part of a disciplinary case against Florida State that resulted in knocking 12 victories off the record of former football coach Bobby Bowden as part of the school's penalty. The NCAA stripped Florida State of wins in 10 sports because their athletes cheated on an online music test or received other unauthorized help with their studies.

* The University of Michigan met yesterday's deadline to respond to the NCAA's allegations that the Rich Rodriguez-led football program committed as many as five major violations in the first days of his Wolverines' tenure. Athletic director David Brandon said last week there would be "total transparency" when the school releases its report today. The investigation was prompted by a Detroit Free Press report just before the 2009 season started. Anonymous players told the newspaper the amount of time they spent on football activities during the season exceeded the weekly limit of 20 hours, often exceeded the daily limit of 4 hours, and that football staff often watched offseason scrimmages that are supposed to be voluntary.

* A federal judge in Louisville, Ky., has denied a request to move the trial of a woman charged with trying to extort $10 million from University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III ruled that Karen Cunagin Sypher couldn't show that pretrial publicity warrants the unusual step of relocating the case. Sypher is accused of trying to extort money from Pitino and lying to the FBI. Her trial is set to start July 26.

Philly File

* Former Drexel star Gabriela Marginean was waived by the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx to make room for Rebekkah Brunson, reinstated from the team's suspended list after her overseas commitments came to a finish.

Sport Stops

* Preparations for the 2012 London Olympics will not be threatened by the $39 million in spending cuts for the project announced by Britain's new coalition government, organizers said. The Olympic Delivery Authority, the body responsible for building the venues for the games, said it was confident there would be no major impact on the overall plans. The $39 million reduction is a tiny slice of the $8.7 billion in spending cuts announced by the government to trim Britain's record budget deficit. The ODA's main cuts are expected to be in administrative costs.