09/02/2003 12:00AM

Tracks lag in mutuel change

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Sixteen Thoroughbred racetracks in the Unites States have failed to meet a deadline to eliminate the ability of racetrack tellers to cancel tickets after a race has started, the Thoroughbred Racing Associations said Tuesday.

The association said that the vast majority of racetracks in the U.S. - the TRA listed 53 in a release - had met the self-imposed Sept. 2 deadline to eliminate the cancel-delay, as the practice is called. The tracks that failed to meet the deadline included Del Mar, Monmouth Park, Philadelphia Park, and Louisiana Downs.

Chris Scherf, executive vice president of the TRA, said that most of the tracks that were unable to meet the deadline ran into problems with unions who represent mutuel tellers. Cancel-delays are usually written into union contracts so that tellers are not responsible if someone places a large wager and doesn't pay for the ticket.

Most existing cancel-delays allow tellers to void tickets anywhere from three to 15 seconds after a race has started. The cancellations hold up the final calculations for odds, leading to delays in posting win odds.