12/03/2014 4:46PM

Stronach tracks, MidAtlantic Cooperative still at odds


A simulcasting cooperative and the company that holds the rights to signals from a dozen tracks, including Gulfstream Park, have been unable so far to reach a resolution to a dispute that has shut off signals at simulcasting sites in a handful of states, officials for both sides said on Wednesday.

The dispute is taking on a greater sense of urgency as opening day at Gulfstream approaches on Saturday. The Gulfstream signal is one of the most popular winter simulcasts in the United States, especially on the East Coast, where many of the affected sites are located.

Phil O’Hara, the executive director of the MidAtlantic Cooperative, which represents 23 racetracks, said on Wednesday afternoon that the two sides have talked over the past 24 hours and that he anticipates conducting additional negotiations over the next 48 hours. Asked if he envisioned whether the dispute could be resolved by Saturday, O’Hara said: “I wouldn’t even want to speculate.”

The cooperative represents most of the racetracks in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas, along with a smattering of sites, mostly harness tracks, along the Eastern seaboard.

Scott Daruty, the president of Monarch Content Management Company, confirmed that the two sides had talked over the past day and also said he anticipated more discussions in an attempt to head off a blackout of Gulfstream.

“We’re going to do as much work as possible but I really can’t say whether we can get it done in time,” Daruty said.

Monarch is owned by the Stronach Group, which owns Gulfstream, Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park, Pimlico, and other tracks. Monarch also controls simulcast signals for tracks that are not owned by the Stronach Group, such as Tampa Bay Downs and Turf Paradise.

Signals from the Monarch tracks were shut off last weekend at some MidAtlantic sites, with blackouts at the other sites starting on Monday, when a previous contract between the two sides expired. Daruty said that Monarch remains open to allowing the sites to wager on the Monarch signals while negotiations continue, but that the cooperative has refused.