11/18/2003 1:00AM

Coalition gains support

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A group of 10 new tracks are in the process of joining the Southern Racing Cooperative, the coalition of 17 tracks from middle America that on Tuesday remained locked in a simulcast rate conflict with Churchill Downs Simulcast Network.

Many of the new tracks are small, but when they are tied together with the existing membership, the cooperative accounts for close to $1 billion a year in handle, according to a release issued by the group. The new tracks will not be named until an application period of about two weeks is complete.

The debate between the cooperative and CDSN started on Nov. 11, when the coalition decided not to simulcast the opening-day program from Hollywood Park, reportedly over a proposed rate increase for some tracks in the cooperative. Two days later, CDSN, which controls the Hollywood signal, withdrew all of its signals from the cooperative, including Churchill Downs, Calder, and Hoosier Park.

As of late afternoon Tuesday, there were no new developments between CDSN and the cooperative, according to officials with Churchill.