04/29/2008 12:00AM

Impasse continues over NYRA signal

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The New York Racing Association and a cooperative representing 16 tracks in eight Eastern states remained at an impasse on Tuesday in negotiations over the simulcast signal from NYRA's Belmont Park, according to officials on both sides.

Officials from NYRA and the Midatlantic Cooperative, which is representing the tracks in question, both said that they believed that Belmont's signal would be unavailable on Wednesday, which was opening day for Belmont's spring meet, throughout the states represented by the cooperative, citing disagreement over the rate that should be charged for the signal.

"We consider the discussions still open," said Martin Lieberman, the executive director of the cooperative.

"We've made a number of counteroffers," said Lieberman, "but each one has been rejected."

"It is unfortunate that negotiations won't result in a deal by the start of the Belmont Park meeting," said Hal Handel, NYRA's chief operating officer, in a prepared statement.

"Simulcast pricing is a changing part of the racing landscape," said Hal Handel. "The discussions have been amicable, so we're hopeful our outstanding economic issues can be resolved soon."

The cooperative represents tracks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Lieberman said that NYRA has asked the cooperative to pay a higher rate than last year for the signals for NYRA's three tracks - Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga - but he declined to provide the rate.

Over the past several years, many high-profile racetracks have been gradually pushing for higher rates from simulcast sites for popular signals.