04/01/2004 1:00AM

Thistledown entries by phone only


All race entries for Thistledown's upcoming meet will be required to be made via telephone, the track's director of racing, Bill Couch, announced Thursday. The new policy will ensure that all entry information "remains completely confidential," according to Couch.

Race entries will be taken via telephone toll-free at (866) 632-7223 and from direct-access telephones in the barn area and the racing office. The new system eliminates the need for entry booths and for the dictation of an entry to a clerk in a semiprivate atmosphere. The phone calls will be answered by entry clerks located behind closed doors in the racing office.

"Some horsemen believe that there isn't a level playing field regarding the secrecy of entries, and this system should alleviate their concerns," Couch said.

The 175-day Thistledown meet begins April 8.