11/14/2003 1:00AM

Churchill signal still held


On Friday, for the second consecutive day, the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network withheld all of its signals, including Churchill Downs, Hollywood Park, Calder Race Course, and Hoosier Park, from the 17 tracks that form the Southern Racing Cooperative.

Despite being in the midst of a multiyear agreement that runs through 2004, CDSN and the cooperative have been in simulcast rate negotiations since Tuesday, when the cooperative tracks opted not to import the opening-day program from Hollywood Park. On Thursday, CDSN withdrew all of its signals from tracks in the cooperative.

The sticking point in negotiations reportedly is a proposed Hollywood rate increase for some of the tracks in the cooperative.

"There's no major breakthrough as of now, although I do feel like today we were closer than we were yesterday," said Bobby Geiger, spokesperson for the cooperative.

Karl Schmitt, president of CDSN, did not return calls seeking comment by press time, but Julie Koenig, a spokesperson for Churchill Downs Inc., said there was nothing new to report Friday.

The tracks in the cooperative are Beulah Park, Delta Downs, The Downs at Albuquerque, Fair Grounds, Fonner Park, Gillespie County Fair, Gulf Greyhound, Lone Star Park, Manor Downs, Oaklawn, Prairie Meadows, Retama Park, Ruidoso Downs, Sam Houston Race Park, Sunland Park, Sun Ray Park, and Tampa Bay Downs.