01/22/2009 1:00AM

California signals still curtailed


The simulcast signals from Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields on Thursday remained blacked out in betting locations owned by Churchill Downs Inc. in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Illinois.

The blackout began Monday when the Thoroughbred Owners of California rescinded its approval for the distribution of the signals to the sites. The owners' group acted because of its dissatisfaction with an agreement between the tracks and TrackNet, a simulcast-marketing company co-owned by Churchill, determining the amount of money that goes to Churchill's account-wagering platform, Twinspires.com, on bets made by California residents.

Drew Couto, executive director of the owners' group, said Thursday he was "cautiously optimistic" the sides would reach an agreement soon.

"We had a very nice chat [on Wednesday], and I think we can build on that," Couto said.

Scott Daruty, chief executive of TrackNet, said he was hopeful the owners would lift the blackout.

"There were some discussion," Daruty said. "And I still don't see the logic of the TOC cutting off the simulcasts on this issue."