07/07/2002 11:00PM

Testing starts on quicker tote


NEW YORK - Totalizator companies and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations began conducting a joint test on Monday at Delaware Park of new software that would generate odds updates every 45 seconds, 15 seconds faster than the current update schedule.

The savings will allow one additional odds update during each four-minute span to the post. Racing officials hope that the additional updates will give gamblers a clearer picture of late betting trends.

Chris Scherf, the executive vice president of the TRA, said on Monday that if the Delaware test is successful, nearly every track in the country will be cycling every 45 seconds by the end of July.

"Maybe some of the smaller tracks won't be able to do it," Scherf said. "But everyone else thinks that there is no reason this won't be able to get done."

Late-odds changes became a controversial subject after a number of large late bets changed the odds dramatically last year at Gulfstream Park. Those bets were ultimately traced to a high-rolling gambler in North Dakota who was using a direct link into the tote system to send hundreds of large, computer-generated wagers into the pools, sometimes seconds before post time.

That gambler's computer link was disconnected, but many gamblers have remained suspicious that late odds changes prove that some players are betting after post time. Racing officials say they have found no evidence that any cheating is going on.

All three totalizator companies - Amtote, Autotote, and United Tote - are participating in the test, Scherf said.