09/22/2004 12:00AM

Boycott hits Belmont handle


Interstate handle on the Belmont Park signal has dropped 20.5 percent since tracks in six Eastern states dropped the signal from their simulcast menus because of an ongoing dispute, according to Bill Nader, a New York Racing Association senior vice president.

The declines, measured over five racing days, have contributed to a 13.8 percent drop in all-sources wagering on the Belmont signal since Sept. 15, Nader said. Ontrack handle and intrastate handle have also declined over the past week, but Nader said that poor weather on Saturday was the principal reason behind those declines.

"Now that you've got Suffolk and Rockingham joining the boycott today, it's only going to get worse," Nader said Wednesday. "This is hurting everybody, especially our fans."

Racetracks in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia, Delaware, and Virginia cut off Belmont because of a dispute over account-wagering and television rights on the Belmont signal. Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts and Rockingham Park in New Hampshire joined the boycott on Wednesday.