10/05/2006 11:00PM

$456K carryover moved to Saturday


ELMONT, N.Y. - Belmont Park canceled Friday's pick six and transferred the $456,860 carryover to Saturday's card because of problems with the audio and video transmission to TVG and over 1,000 offtrack simulcast outlets.

The Saturday card is the biggest of the fall meet with five Grade 1 stakes topped by the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup. The pick six will begin with the fifth race on the 10-race card.

"The Verizon fiber-optic lines failed," said New York Racing Association senior vice president Bill Nader.

The fiber-optic cables carry the Belmont signal to Bethpage, N.Y. for satellite uplink.

"Somewhere there was a breakdown or a failure," Nader.

The only bettors not impacted were those at Belmont and at New York City Off Track Betting. Around the country, some bettors were blocked from betting Belmont because of the transmission failure.

Belmont delayed the start of the third race 29 minutes until 2:31 p.m. as technicians worked to resolve the problem.

The announcement of the pick six cancellation came before the fourth race, the first leg of bet. The transmission was restored seven minutes before the fourth race.

"At 2:30, there was no real reason to believe they would get this thing fixed," said Nader. "It was time to make the decision."

The betting numbers through three races helped make the decision.

"The handle on the first three races was off 52 percent, excluding New York City OTB and NYRA bettors," Nader said. "The fear was those customers around the country who had contributed to the carryover were not going to get the opportunity to participate today."

Nader said NYRA refunded $510,000 in pick six bets. Nader estimated that the pick six handle would have been $1.3 to $1.4 million and that NYRA will lose $3 million in overall handle.

At no point did NYRA consider canceling the remainder of the card.

"It would have been unfair to people who had horses in today," Nader said. "They were in the security barn, they were entered to run. The track is fast, the turf is good. If I had a horse in and the race didn't go because of a fiber-optic problem, I'm not liking that excuse."

NYRA notified the New York State Racing and Wagering Board of the cancellation.

Belmont completed the remainder of the card, with the races running about a half-hour behind normal schedule.