10/18/2004 11:00PM

N.Y. weighs pick six change

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At a meeting Thursday, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board will consider a change to its rules that would declare races taken off the turf as "no contests" for the purposes of pick six bets.

The rule change, submitted by the New York Racing Association, would seek to eliminate an often-criticized situation in which pick six bettors are either stuck with selections who are ill-suited to dirt races or given the post-time favorite in races taken off the turf. Under the rule change, if a race is taken off the turf after the official close of pick six betting, all pick six wagers will be considered winners of the off-the-turf leg, making the bet, in effect, a pick five. The wager will still be considered a pick six, however, for purposes of the distribution of the pool and carryovers.

"Everyone knows it's frustrating if a race gets taken off the turf and you're stuck with the favorite three times or a horse that doesn't like the dirt," said Bill Nader, a senior vice president of NYRA. "We think this is fair."

If approved by the board, the rule change would not take effect until late this year, assuming the rule is also approved by state officials and formally approved by the board after a period of public comment. The New York Racing Association typically does not card turf races between December and the middle of April.