03/30/2004 12:00AM

NYRA pick six takeout cut


The New York State Racing and Wagering Board on Tuesday approved a request by the New York Racing Association to cut its takeout on the pick six to 15 percent on non-carryover days.

The reduction, expected to take effect for the Thursday card at Aqueduct, will make NYRA's pick six the lowest-priced pick six in the country on non-carryover days. Takeout on carryover days will remain 25 percent.

Barry Schwartz, the chairman of NYRA, said the intention of the reduction is to create larger pools for carryover days by creating an incentive for more people to play on non-carryover days.

"We need to create a lot of excitement on the first day, because the second pool just becomes geometrically that much bigger," Schwartz said.

The board directed NYRA to provide an analysis of the impact of the reduction at the end of June. Takeout reductions have been opposed in the past by New York's off-track betting corporations, which receive a smaller slice of parimutuel revenue from low-takeout wagers.

Also at Thursday's meeting, the board upheld a 45-day suspension and $3,000 fine for Richard Dutrow, the leading trainer at this year's Aqueduct winter meet. The suspension was first meted out last year after Dutrow's Farmer Jake tested positive in a postrace urine test for mepivacaine, a prohibited local anesthetic, after a race on April 27, 2003, at Aqueduct. Dutrow appealed the ruling. The start date for the suspension has yet to be determined.

The board's state steward, Carmine Donofrio, has yet to rule on a Feb. 8, 2004, incident in which Dutrow scratched four horses from the Aqueduct card after he told racing officials that the horses might test positive for clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that is legal to use in training but cannot be present in a horse on raceday.

Stacy Clifford, a spokeswoman for the board, said that Donofrio may rule on the clenbuterol scratches later this week.

Dutrow did not return a phone call on Tuesday.