NYRA Simulcast Blackout Continues

A dispute between the New York Racing Association and the Southern Buying Cooperative over 2001 simulcast contracts has halted Aqueduct's signal from being shown in six states.

The 11-member cooperative tracks include Lone Star Park near Dallas, Texas; Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Texas; Retama Park in San Antonio, Texas; Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.; Emerald Downs in Auburn, Wash.; Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa; Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Fla.; and Albuquerque and Ruidoso Downs and Sunray and Sunland Park in New Mexico.

Bob Bork, spokesperson for the Southern Racing Cooperative said the SRC is eager to resolve the contract dispute and return to full card simulcasting.

"We are eager to work through the present stand still and continue those talks in order to reach an agreement which is fair to all. However, in the mean time, we are unable to take their signal."

Bill Nader, vice president of racing for NYRA, said the contract dispute should not be viewed as price gouging by NYRA, but an attempt to provide quality services at reasonable prices. "Many tracks in the cooperative received little or no price adjustments, and the adjustments that were made were based on a meet-by-meet basis. Tampa Bay Downs and Prairie Meadows saw no increase at all. Lone Star Park did not see an increase for the 2001 season, but a slight adjustment for the 2002 Saratoga meet."

Nader said NYRA is committed to resolving the dispute as quickly as possible, but they must remain responsible to their horsemen. "We put out a good product at a very good price for the type and for the number of days of racing."

Even if the dispute is settled immediately, the three Texas tracks could not return the Aqueduct signal for at least five days from the date of the agreement due to Texas law. The other tracks could resume showing NYRA racing as soon as the contracts were signed.