NYRA chief on leave during winnings payment probe

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The New York Racing Association has placed its top executive on unpaid administrative leave pending a state investigation into $8.5 million in winnings that weren't paid out to bettors on horse races.

The state Racing and Wagering Board's interim report on the unpaid winnings was released Monday and was highly critical of NYRA's top management.

Hours after the report was released, NYRA's Executive Committee put CEO Charles Hayward and Senior Vice President Patrick Kehoe (kee-HOH') on unpaid leave for an unspecified amount of time. Hayward's annual pay is $475,000; Kehoe's is $423,000.

The committee says NYRA will take what it calls appropriate steps and actions. The private entity holds the state franchise to run thoroughbred racing at the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga tracks.