11/14/2002 12:00AM

Woodbine criticizes ban on pick six


NEW YORK - Officials of Woodbine Racetrack lashed out at the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency on Thursday for passing a resolution outlawing pick six, pick four, and superfecta bets in response to the Breeders' Cup pick six investigation.

David Willmot, the president of Woodbine, characterized the decision as "shooting first and asking questions later" during a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon, calling remarks by agency officials as "exaggerations and inaccuracies." Willmot said that representatives of Woodbine and other tracks in Canada will meet with agency officials on Friday to ask that they rescind or suspend the resolution.

"This will have severe if not catastrophic consequences for the Canadian racing and breeding industry," Willmot said.

The agency passed a rule on Tuesday that requires all betting data to be at the host racetrack at the time that the first horse crosses the finish line. Currently, full information about pick six, pick four, and superfecta bets is not sent until after the race is run, making those bets inconsistent with the new rule.

Willmot said the agency did not consult with racetracks before passing the rule. He said he believed that wagering systems in Canada were secure.

"There is no imminent threat," Willmot said. "There was no consultation. And the result is now confusion and chaos."

Steve Mitchell, the vice-president of wagering operations for Woodbine, said that approximately $100,000 is bet per night on pick six, pick four, and superfecta bets at Woodbine, mostly from sources inside the U.S. That amounts to about 5 percent of the daily handle, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said that many other bets from outside sources do not regularly arrive at Woodbine until after the first horse crosses the finish line, including win, place, and show wagers, because of delays in the network that links racetracks both in Canada and the U.S.

Also on Thursday:

* The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Wagering Technology Task Force discussed "other steps that can be taken in the near term" to address tote security concerns during a teleconference, according to Chip Tuttle, a spokesman for the NTRA. The task force was set up two weeks ago to issue recommendations on how to close security gaps in the way bets are made in the wake of the Breeders' Cup pick six investigation.

* Officials for the California Horse Racing Board said that the board will address a request by Hollywood Park to close its betting windows a minute before post at a meeting on Nov. 21. Officials of Hollywood discussed the change with CHRB officials during a conference call on Monday, but the CHRB said a vote by board members would be needed to approve the plan.