09/24/2009 11:00PM

NYRA to pay twice on super mix-up


ELMONT, N.Y. - Upon further review, the wrong result stands. And so will the right one.

Officials from the New York Racing Association said Friday that it will pay out both the official and the actual superfecta result from Thursday's ninth-race snafu at Belmont Park when the incorrect fourth-place finisher was posted. All totaled, NYRA could be on the hook for $82,500, which is the net superfecta pool after takeout. The gross superfecta pool was $111,978.

The official, albeit incorrect, superfecta combination of 8-14-5-10 resulted in a payout of $1,072 for a $2 wager. The recalculated superfecta payout of the actual, or correct, combination of 8-14-5-13 was $800. There was a period of 2 minutes and 49 seconds on Thursday in which NYRA paid those tickets with the official but incorrect order of finish. Following a 25-minute period, NYRA then began paying out on the correct order of finish.

On Thursday, Pat Mahony, NYRA's senior vice president of parimutuel operations, said NYRA would no longer pay out on the official order of finish as per state law. But on Friday, NYRA officials passed out a copy of the law that reads, in part, "If any change be made in the order of finish of a race after the result is so declared official, it shall not affect the payoff."

Thus, legally, NYRA is required to pay off on the 8-14-5-10 combination, but not the 8-14-5-13 combination. It will, however, pay off on both.

"We have the discretion if we want - and obviously we do - to pay the right order, so we will pay the superfecta with the 10 in fourth and the superfecta with the 13 in fourth," NYRA's president, Charles Hayward, said Friday. "Under our simulcast contracts, whatever we rule we're going to pay on, [simulcast outlets] have to pay on. It's going to come out of our pockets, not theirs. From the settlement, NYRA will pay them for both of those payouts."

The three placing judges at Belmont incorrectly posted the 10-horse, Dontquityourdayjob, as the fourth-place finisher instead of the 13-horse, Everybodywantsone, who actually finished fourth. Dontquityourdayjob finished ninth. After going through the usual protocol - which requires a confirmation of the order of finish with the photo-finish technician, Don Morehouse - the race was made official with Dontquityourdayjob in the fourth position. About a minute later, one of the patrol judges realized a mistake was made and started the ball rolling to rectify the situation.

A review of the photo of Everybodywantsone shows the middle part of the number 3 blocked by jockey Ramon Dominguez's boot. However, the armband that the jockey wears made it clear it was the 13 horse who finished fourth.

On Friday, Stephen Foster, one of the three placing judges, said it was simply a mistake made by him and fellow judges Sentell Taylor and Ralph Theroux Jr., who all mistook the 13 for the 10. According to Foster, the placing judges are required to do a rundown of all finishers in a race. Foster said that all three placing judges had the 10 horse twice in their rundown, but by the time they realized it the race had already been made official.

"I'm really sorry it happened," Foster said. "It's the first time it's happened. We got to be more careful. We've worked together for five years and never made a mistake. All three of us had two 10s in the rundown. It was a freak thing - we didn't catch it."

Both NYRA and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board will conduct investigations into the incident.

"Preliminary indications suggest that this mistake resulted from human error," the racing board's chairman, John Sabini, said in a statement. "The goal of the inquiry is not only to pinpoint how this happened, but to determine what should be done to prevent it from happening again."