Suffolk Downs, NYRA Strike Signal Agreement

The Belmont Park signal returned to Suffolk Downs Oct. 21after the track and the New York Racing Association struck a deal outside of the MidAtlantic Cooperative, of which Suffolk is a member.

Suffolk was among 19 racetracks in the Mid-Atlantic region and New England that pulled the signal in the September after NYRA entered into an exclusive contract with the TV Games Network.

"I applaud (track president) Bob O'Malley and Suffolk Downs for returning the NYRA signal," NYRA executive vice president Bill Nader said. "He took a giant step forward. Suffolk made a business decision. The NYRA signal is very important to the racing fans in New England and to fans across the Mid-Atlantic region.

The ramifications of the move and what it means to the cooperative wasn't immediately known. Martin Lieberman, executive director of the consortium, said he would have no comment until he and other members of the group speak with representatives of Suffolk Downs concerning its decision.

Officials close to the situation indicated other tracks may follow Suffolk's lead.

"I had discussions with Bob O'Malley (Oct. 20-21), and we worked out an agreement where the signal could return," Nader said. "I have also spoken with various members of the cooperative. Any of the tracks in the cooperative that would like to come back, NYRA would welcome them back. We want to see that the customers are satisfied."

The cooperative is made up of Thoroughbred and Standardbred tracks in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia in the Mid-Atlantic region, and Suffolk and Rockingham Park in New England. The cooperative balked at components of the NYRA-TVG contract that restricted account wagering in Virginia and New Hampshire.