10/29/2004 12:00AM

Aqueduct working out tote trouble


New York Racing Association officials spent Friday dealing with a third day of problems at Aqueduct associated with its shift to a new bet-processing service, in the hopes that numerous bugs could be worked out prior to the Saturday card.

Bill Nader, NYRA's senior vice president, said Friday afternoon that conditions were improving at Aqueduct because of work by track and tote officials, but he acknowledged that the first two days of the meet were "not our finest hours."

"Anyone will tell you that any time you transfer from one tote company to another it can be frightening," Nader said. "We're still not perfect. There's still some minor problems, but we're working very hard to not only be completely operational, but bug-free."

NYRA replaced its bet-processing system on Wednesday with the start of the Aqueduct meet. The new company, United Tote, took over from Autotote, which had been NYRA's bet-processor for 25 years.

Saturday will likely be one of the busiest ontrack days for Aqueduct during its fall meet. Although Aqueduct will card only five live races, the simulcast of the Breeders' Cup from Lone Star Park will be available at the track.

On Wednesday, NYRA posted an erroneous pick six payoff and patrons had numerous difficulties betting through self-service machines. Nader characterized the problems as "technical in nature," and said that many of the problems stemmed from the use of cash-card self-service terminals. The cash cards are expected to replace paper vouchers under the new system.

Nader said most of the problems with the terminals had been worked out by Friday afternoon.

"The difference between Wednesday and Friday has been night and day, and we'll be even better tomorrow," Nader said.