02/12/2014 2:58PM

NYRA, Churchill continue negotiations on contract, 'signal disruption' unlikely

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Churchill Downs Inc. and the New York Racing Association remained in negotiations Wednesday over a simulcast contract for 2014, but a NYRA official said that the association did not anticipate a “signal disruption” when Aqueduct resumes racing Friday.

Churchill owns the largest account-wagering company in the United States, twinspires.com, while NYRA’s races generate approximately one-fifth of the U.S. racing handle. The two sides have been without a contract that would allow Churchill to broadcast and take wagers on NYRA’s races since the beginning of the year, but a series of extensions since then have avoided a blackout.

A NYRA official said earlier in the week that the two sides had come close to finalizing a deal after talks Monday. The official said Wednesday that discussions were ongoing.

The talks have been complicated by NYRA’s insistence that its simulcast outlets pay a higher rate for the association’s signal this year. NYRA operates Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga.

Churchill officials have declined to comment on the talks.

Last weekend, NYRA did not offer the second Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool to its customers. The wager is offered by Churchill Downs. NYRA spokesman Eric Wing said that the association did not feel it would be appropriate to offer the bet without a contract in place.