Casino builder Wynn joins racing bidder

Albany, New York (AP) – Las Vegas casino developer Steve Wynn has joined a group seeking to run thoroughbred racing in New York.

Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, joined the Excelsior Racing Associates that a week ago lost a founder, Steve Swindal. Swindal, the son-in-law of New York Yankees boss George Steinbrenner, dropped out of Excelsior after his wife filed for divorce.

Excelsior also announced that Steven Roth of Vornado Realty Trust and Richard D. Bronson of The Bronson Companies joined the bidders. Wynn built The Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio casinos and resorts in Las Vegas.

Excelsior, Empire Racing, the New York Racing Association and Capital Play are scheduled to present their plans this week in hearings to detail how they would run Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga race tracks and video slot machines at Aqueduct. The hearings will be over two days in Albany and will be run by top officials in Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s administration.

Excelsior also includes the Rev. Floyd Flake, a former congressman, and Jerry Bailey, a Racing Hall of Fame jockey.

The field also includes: Empire Racing; a Saratoga Springs group that includes Churchill Downs of Louisville, Ky.; the New York Racing Association, holder of the franchise since 1955; and Capital Play, an Australian consortium now based in New York City.

NYRA‘s franchise expires Dec. 31 and the next franchise holder could run racing for up to 20 years.