12/17/2002 12:00AM

Pick six winnings in flux


NEW YORK - The United States attorney prosecuting the Breeders' Cup pick six case has decided to treat the winnings of the bet as "criminal proceeds," which could further delay distribution of $3.1 million to legitimate ticket holders.

The money is currently frozen by an order of the U.S. federal court in White Plains, N.Y. On Tuesday, Mark Kulstad, spokesman for U.S. attorney James Comey of the Southern District of New York, implied that Comey's office would have control over the money but declined to estimate when the office would determine what to do with the money.

"All I can say is that we believe that the proceeds from the pick four and pick six bets, including the Breeders' Cup pick six, are subject to forfeiture," Kulstad said.

The Breeders' Cup has already endorsed a plan to distribute the money to holders of consolation tickets. The only winning tickets were purchased as part of a fraudulent scheme in which three men have already pleaded guilty.

"Both common sense and simple justice demand that the funds be given to the rightful owners, the fans who hold the consolation tickets," said D.G. Van Clief, the Breeders' Cup president. "Those are the rules."

Van Clief said that Breeders' Cup officials plan to meet with the Illinois Racing Board and officials from Arlington Park in suburban Chicago, site of the Breeders' Cup last Oct. 26, to discuss their next step in getting the money distributed.

Three former Drexel University fraternity brothers - Chris Harn, Glen DaSilva, and Derrick Davis - have all entered guilty pleas in connection with the Breeders' Cup pick six and related betting schemes. The disputed winnings - approximately $3.1 million of a total payout of $3.46 million in the Breeders' Cup pick six - were never distributed. Instead, the money has been held by Arlington Park in an interest-bearing account.

Walter Dudycz, the executive director of the Illinois Racing Board, said that his commission wanted to take control of the money after the federal court ordered it released, putting the board in competition with the U.S. attorney's office if the office pursues any claim to the money.

"As of right now, their opinion is elementary, because it's still subject to the U.S. magistrate releasing the funds," Dudycz said.