01/22/2003 12:00AM

California weighs OTB policy


ARCADIA, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board may consider shutting off betting at some offtrack satellite locations before post time to allow mutuel pools to give a more accurate indication of final odds before a race begins.

The issue was discussed at Wednesday's parimutuel committee meeting and will undergo further investigation by board officials in coming months.

In recent years, bettors nationwide have grown frustrated watching odds fluctuate after the start of a race because tote systems were slow to compute the final odds.

John Reagan, a board auditor, cited two recent examples at Hollywood Park in which the odds on the winner went from 24-1 to 12-1 and from 8-5 to 4-5 "in the final few cycles before the start of a race," after a series of large bets on the winners were placed through the Racing and Gaming Services offtrack site.

While board officials emphasized that the bets were placed before the races started, other officials said the incidents have left bettors frustrated.

"Racing fans are disillusioned," said Ron Charles, a director of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.