01/14/2003 12:00AM

Sentencing delay likely for pick six mastermind


NEW YORK - Chris Harn, the admitted mastermind of the Breeders' Cup pick six scheme, will likely have his Feb. 19 sentencing hearing delayed until a month after his two co-conspirators are sentenced in mid-March, legal officials said Tuesday.

The delay will allow U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bryant to consider the sentences for the co-conspirators, Derrick Davis and Glen DaSilva, before deciding on Harn's punishment, the officials said. Harn cooperated with investigators and prosecutors and was the first of the three to enter a guilty plea, on Nov. 20.

"That's how it is done in these cases," said one of the legal officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "The guy who goes first is sentenced last. There's no way Harn gets sentenced on Feb. 19, and it probably won't be done until a month after Davis and DaSilva get sentenced."

Harn, a former employee of Autotote, the largest bet-processing company in the country, is expected to receive a sentence of six to eight years in prison on two felony conspiracy counts. In his guilty plea, Harn admitted altering a Breeders' Cup pick six ticket that produced a $3.1 million payout. He admitted rigging two other bets, an Oct. 5 pick six at Belmont and an Oct. 3 pick four at Balmoral Park. Harn also admitted cashing counterfeits of unredeemed winning tickets.

Davis and DaSilva, who were fraternity brothers with Harn during the 1990's at Drexel University, face lighter sentences because they played lesser roles in the scams.

The government recommended that Davis face a sentence of 36 to 47 months in prison. DaSilva, who did not admit to a role in altering the Breeders' Cup pick six ticket, is facing a recommended sentence of 21 to 27 months in prison.

Steve Allen, the attorney for Davis, said on Tuesday that he would petition the court to grant his client a "minor role adjustment" to the sentencing guidelines, which are the complex sets of factors that determine punishments in federal cases. If granted, the adjustment, which would recognize that Davis did not personally commit any serious crime while participating in the scheme, could significantly reduce Davis's sentence.

Ed Hayes, the lawyer for DaSilva, said he had not yet decided whether to seek a similar reduction for his client.

Any delay in sentencing Harn is not likely to have an impact on the redistribution of the $3.1 million Breeders' Cup pick 6 payout to consolation ticketholders - those who selected five winners - officials said. The payout, which has been placed in an interest-bearing account held by Arlington Park, where the Breeders' Cup was held last year, has been frozen by the U.S. federal court.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which prosecuted the case, has filed a claim for the money, calling it criminal proceeds, unnerving some racing officials and consolation ticket-holders who fear the government could decide to confiscate the payout.

But several officials involved in the process said on Monday and Tuesday that if the U.S. attorney's office is given title to the money, it would most likely order Arlington Park to distribute the money to the consolation ticketholders, which has been Arlington and Breeders' Cup's plan all along.

Consolation ticketholders, who received $4,606.20 on Breeders' Cup Day, would receive an additional $39,000 if the winning payout were redistributed.