07/09/2011 2:03PM

Belmont Park: Communications breakdown leads to pick six error


ELMONT, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association will conduct an internal investigation to find out where a communication breakdown occurred that resulted in the mishandling of Friday’s pick six at Belmont Park and led to an erroneous pick-six carryover into Saturday’s card.

The last two legs of Friday’s pick six involved races that were moved from the turf to the dirt after an inch of rain fell during the day. Though the announcement that those two races were being moved from turf to the dirt was made before pick-six wagering had closed, the mutuel department apparently didn’t receive that information until after pick six wagering had closed.

That prompted the mutuel department to mistakenly enact a New York state rule that mandates if two or more races in the pick-six sequence are transferred from the turf to the dirt after wagering has closed, they are declared “all win” races, meaning all horses used are considered winners. Further, the rule states that when two or more races change surfaces after wagering has closed, 75 percent of the pool is carried over into the next live day’s program while 25 percent of the pool is paid out as consolation payoffs. In Friday’s case, that resulted in a $7.70 payout while $34,680 was carried over into Saturday’s program.

Had the rule not been enacted, there almost assuredly would have been one or more winning tickets in the pick six. The last two legs of the pick six were scratched down to fields of three and four, respectively, and favorites had won the first four legs of the sequence.

“Either there was a failure to notify somebody, or somebody was notified and forgot they were notified, or the notification got lost in the shuffle,” said Hal Handel, NYRA’s executive vice-president and COO. “That’s what we need to find out first – were the right people notified, who made an error – and then we can try to fix the system.”

Handel said that Ken Cook, NYRA’s vice-president/security, will head up the investigation.

Patrick Mahony, senior vice-president of parimutuel operations, was on vacation Friday.