01/13/2010 12:00AM

Oaklawn signal may be limited by ongoing dispute


A dispute between a simulcast-marketing company and a collection of simulcast sites in seven states along the Eastern Seaboard is now threatening the availability of the opening-day signal from Oaklawn Park on Friday, according to officials involved in the dispute.

Oaklawn Park's simulcast signal is controlled by TrackNet Media, a partnership of Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment Corp. Since late November, TrackNet has been locked in a stalemate with a cooperative representing simulcast sites stretching from Virginia to New Hampshire, and negotiations over a contract with the sites remained at a standstill on Wednesday, officials for both sides said.

Martin Lieberman, the executive director of the MidAtlantic Cooperative, said he sent a proposal to TrackNet on Tuesday that seeks to lay out the guidelines for a new contract. The cooperative had not received a response by Wednesday afternoon, Lieberman said.

"We're certainly eager to resume," Lieberman said.

The two sides have spoken sparingly since November. As a result of the dispute, the sites have been unable to offer betting on Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Santa Anita Park in California, and Gulfstream Park in Florida, three of the most popular signals on the winter racing calendar.

"We're continuing to talk, but so far, no deal," said Scott Daruty, the president of TrackNet, on Wednesday afternoon.