New York State to Drop Coupled Entries in $1-Million Races

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The state's Racing and Wagering Board is moving to end entries being coupled as common betting interests in the biggest New York races, including the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and the Breeders' Cup.

The board has proposed rules uncoupling all entries with common ownership in races with purses of $1 million or more.

Joe Lynch, the board's chief of racing operations, said Tuesday the board was acting on a request from the New York Racing Association. The association operates New York Thoroughbred tracks at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga.

Coupling entries is designed to protect unsuspecting bettors from the manipulation of betting pools with commonly owned horses being ridden to the benefit of one or the other horse against the rest of the field. That could be a particular danger in lower-purse races.

But the board said all the horses entered in the premier races like the Belmont are carefully scrutinized by bettors. Lynch said that coupling entries--especially in big races with small fields--reduces the possibilities of making the exotic bets that now account for three-quarters of wagering in such events.

The public has 45 days to comment on the uncoupling rule, but board officials said they don't expect any opposition.

Lynch said the rule is designed to eliminate entries in the Breeders' Cup races which will be run this year at Belmont on Oct. 27. All those races have purses of at least $1 million and entries have been uncoupled in the other states where the Breeders' Cup has been run in recent years.