01/01/2007 12:00AM

Gulf blackout possible at New York OTBs

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The Florida Division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association intends to withhold its permission to simulcast the Gulfstream Park meeting to all New York OTB facilities unless the track is paid more for its signal, said Sam Gordon, president of the horsemen's group. The Gulfstream meet opens on Wednesday.

Gordon said his group sent certified letters to all six New York OTB companies on Sept. 18 informing them of a requested rate hike from the 2.55 percent of handle they received for the Gulfstream signal in 2006 to 2.85 percent for 2007.

"We notified New York OTB of our request for a rate increase several months ago and never received a reply from any of the six groups involved," Gordon said. "All we are asking for is an additional .30 percent. They do a billion dollars in simulcast business, and have almost no investment in the product. All we are asking is for a little extra for our horsemen so we can pay decent purses down here."

The New York OTB system handled $38,896,331 on Gulfstream Park's simulcast signal in 2006, track officials said.

The horsemen's group and the New York OTB companies were expected to talk on Tuesday, Gordon said.

"I received a call from Raymond Casey, president of New York City OTB, on Monday, and he said that because of the holiday he would not be able to get ahold of his people and said he'd get back to me regarding the situation on Tuesday," Gordon said.

Phil Combest, vice president of the Florida horsemen's group, said that by law the Gulfstream signal cannot be simulcast unless the horsemen give their consent.