05/08/2008 12:00AM

Mid-Atlantic sites, NYRA make deal

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The New York Racing Association and a cooperative representing tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region have reached an agreement that will restore the signal from Belmont Park at the simulcast sites in eight states, effective Friday, officials for the two sides said Thursday.

NYRA and the MidAtlantic Cooperative had failed to reach an agreement on the terms over the Belmont signal since the track opened on April 30. Officials for the cooperative had said that they would not agree to a price increase for the signal, a point not disputed by NYRA officials.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, though it is known that NYRA has been seeking some of the highest rates in the country for the signals from its three tracks, Belmont, Aqueduct, and Saratoga.

Martin Lieberman, the executive director of the cooperative, said that the contract was a "long-term," multiyear deal, but he declined to be more specific.

"It's a fair agreement," Lieberman said.

NYRA remains locked in a separate dispute with a cooperative representing simulcasting sites in eight Southern and Midwestern states.

The blackout affected the sites operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, Freehold Raceway, and Atlantic City Race Course in New Jersey; Philadelphia Park, Penn National, and Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania; Charles Town Races in West Virginia; Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway in Delaware; Ocean Downs and Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland; Colonial Downs in Virginia; Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts; and Rockingham Park in New Hampshire.