12/31/2002 1:00AM

Simulcast signals blocked to N.H.


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - In the latest skirmish between New England's Thoroughbred horsemen and Rockingham Park over the track's decision to discontinue Thoroughbred racing, the regional HBPA is preventing the Suffolk Downs simulcast signal from being exported to New Hampshire parimutuel facilities as of Jan. 1.

In a show of support, the Kentucky HBPA is not allowing Turfway Park's races to be simulcast to New Hampshire.

Rockingham has sued both the New England and Kentucky HBPA's. A hearing is scheduled to be held in January in New Hampshire superior court.

Rockingham and Suffolk Downs are both in the Boston area, with Rockingham just across the border in New Hampshire and Suffolk in Massachusetts.

With Rockingham dropping Thoroughbred racing, area horsemen no longer share in most of the $160 million bet in New Hampshire on Thoroughbred simulcasts, and only receive commissions from wagers made on Suffolk Downs's races. The horsemen want Rockingham to compensate them for revenues resulting from all wagering on incoming Thoroughbred simulcasts.

According to the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978, Suffolk needs the horsemen's permission to send out its simulcast signal.

Two Rhode Island facilities were to be shut off from the Suffolk signal as well, but agreed to negotiate a deal in the next two weeks.