11/02/2009 12:00AM

Mid-Atlantic tracks lose Churchill

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The signal from Churchill Downs in Louisville was pulled from the simulcast menu of 17 tracks on the Eastern seaboard on Sunday because of a contract dispute, according to officials involved in the negotiations.

The dispute is between TrackNet Media, a simulcast-marketing company co-owned by Magna Entertainment Corp. and Churchill Downs Inc., and the Midatlantic Cooperative, a 17-track partnership that collectively buys and sells simulcast signals. An existing agreement between the companies, which covered the signals from the live race meets at all the tracks owned by Churchill and Magna that started prior to Oct. 31, expired over the weekend, according to the officials.

As a result, the opening-day Churchill signal was blacked out on Sunday from Suffolk Downs, Rockingham Park, the Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, Freehold Raceway, Atlantic City, Chester Downs, Philadelphia Park, Penn National, Pocono Downs, Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, Dover Downs, Charles Town Races, Rosecroft Raceway, Ocean Downs, and Colonial Downs, along with the offtrack betting networks owned or operated by those tracks.

Because of the way the contract was structured, the Mid-Atlantic sites will continue to be able to offer betting on any Churchill- or Magna-owned racetrack where the live meet started prior to the Oct. 31 cutoff, including Calder Race Course in Florida.