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Aqueduct bidder accused of DUI

Swindal, son-in-law of Yankees boss George Steinbrenner, was arrested just before 4:30 a.m. in St. Petersburg, Fla., according to a police report on the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Web site. Police said Swindal, 52, was pulled over by an officer after cutting off an officer's police car, forcing her to take evasive action to avoid hitting him. Police said Swindal was clocked driving 61 mph in a 35 mph zone shortly before he was pulled over.He was released after a few hours after posting a $250 bond, police said.In addition to being the man tapped to succeed Steinbrenner when he steps down as head of the Yankees organization, Swindal has taken an active role in Excelsior Racing, considered to be the front-runner in the bidding to become the next operator of New York's three major thoroughbred racetracks - including Aqueduct in Ozone Park and Belmont Park in Elmont.Excelsior Racing is considered to have a slight edge over rival Empire Racing Associates in the bidding after the state's Ad Hoc Committee recommended the racing group by a razor thin margin on Nov. 21. Excelsior beat out Empire in a point-system set up to judge the selection process, coming in with a score of 94.6 to Empire's 93 points. New York Racing Associates, which currently operates the tracks, also still is in the running despite recently filing for bankruptcy, came in third with 76.5 points.State legislators are now in line to vote on their choices to take over the tracks, with the final decision likely to come sometime in the next few months as recently elected Gov. Elliot Spitzer settles into office. Officials at Excelsior could not be reached for comment, but Steinbrenner's spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, issued a statement calling the arrest unfortunate."Mr. Swindal apologizes profusely for this distraction during the Yankees' spring training, and no further comment will be made until this is resolved," Rubenstein said.Swindal has been very active in the bidding process, recently tapping influential Queens religious leader Rev. Floyd Flake as an adviser for Excelsior.Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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