Updated on 09/16/2011 6:36AM

NYRA raps Santa Anita cutoff


NEW YORK - Officials from the New York Racing Association on Thursday sharply criticized Santa Anita's decision to drop Aqueduct's simulcast signal in favor of races from Fair Grounds in New Orleans and Turf Paradise in Phoenix.

"We've had a presence in Southern California for a long time, and horseplayers get used to following certain circuits," said Bill Nader, vice president of the New York Racing Association, which operates Aqueduct. "This is going to aggravate the horseplayers who follow us out there."

Santa Anita officials said on Wednesday that the decision to drop Aqueduct was made because of concerns over weather cancellations. Nader said that Aqueduct had only one weather cancellation in January last year and perhaps three weather-related cancellations each winter.

Nader said that Santa Anita's decision was likely influenced by NYRA's decision to cut its takeout last year. A lower takeout cuts into profit margins for tracks taking simulcast signals, and Turf Paradise and Fair Grounds have much higher takeout rates than Aqueduct.

"Our takeout reduction probably didn't help us," Nader said. "But that's greed ruling out over common sense."

The Santa Anita decision will have a significant impact on Aqueduct's bottom line, Nader said. On New Year's Day, for example, California bettors wagered $560,000 on seven Aqueduct simulcast races. Aqueduct averages $8.7 million in handle each day.