09/13/2011 2:08PM

Kentucky Downs: Placing error results in wrong superfecta payout


Kentucky Downs placing judges posted the wrong fourth-place finisher in the seventh and last race on their opening-day program Saturday, an error that has been corrected for the purposes of official placings and purse payouts but will not affect the mutuel payoff involving the superfecta.

The original order of finish in the race, a $27,000 allowance, was recorded as 2-4-1-6. But after a review of the photo-finish for fourth revealed that No. 9, Night Party, actually finished fourth, barely ahead of No. 6, Heiden, the result has been revised to 2-4-1-9.

Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen said Tuesday that the track “will follow the regulations as set forth by the state of Kentucky” in declining to alter parimutuel payoffs after results of a race have been declared official.

The superfecta pool of $17,682 yielded a $1 payoff of $210.70 on the 2-4-1-6 result. (Heiden was 12-1 and Night Party was 13-1.)

Based on the same $210.70 payout, the maximum amount that Kentucky Downs would have had to pay to bettors who could prove – through online transactions or otherwise – that they had the 2-4-1-9 combination would have been about $14,000, accounting for takeout.

“It really isn’t the money, but the difficulty and the fairness in compensating the people” with the 2-4-1-9 combination, Johnsen said. “Lots of people have already discarded their tickets.”

Kentucky chief steward John Veitch, who is working the Kentucky Downs meet, said the problem occurred “because of human error. The margin was a hair. It’s very unfortunate. I could give you a number of reasons why it happened, including the fact the equipment in use at Kentucky Downs is not as sophisticated as what has become standard at other tracks, and the one particular individual involved made the wrong visual determination. But the bottom line is a mistake was made, and once you go official, you can’t go back.”

Veitch said the placing judges will not be sanctioned after “the one individual involved apologized profusely for his mistake. I accepted that.”

The connections of both Night Party and Heiden will be paid the fourth-place purse earnings of $1,350; fifth place would have been worth $540. Johnsen said the track will make up the $810 difference. The Equibase race chart was being corrected Tuesday to reflect the changes.

While they obviously are not a regular occurrence, erroneous payoffs are not extremely rare in racing, with the most egregious being the infamous Allumeuse incident at the 1986 Saratoga meet, when hundreds of thousands of dollars were involved and a number of racing officials lost their jobs.

Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., will host the final two cards of a four-day meet Saturday and Monday.