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Thursday, November 7
Officials looking into possible computer hack scheme



NEW YORK -- The investigation into a suspicious Breeders' Cup bet worth $3 million includes a third former student at Drexel University and has been expanded to include similar successful wagers.

The latest person under investigation by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board is Glen DaSilva of New York, several racing industry officials speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed Wednesday.

Two others under investigation have already been identified -- Derrick Davis of Baltimore, the man who made the winning Pick Six bets, and Chris Harn, an employee of Autotote, a company involved in the wagers under suspicion. Harn, who officials said had the access necessary to manipulate betting tickets, was fired by Autotote last week.

All the men are 29 and went to Drexel in Philadelphia in the 1990s. None has been charged with wrongdoing, but the payout is being held up pending the investigation.

Racing officials said DaSilva, like Davis, had a telephone betting account at the Catskill Off-Track Betting facility where the wagers were placed.

"It's still an ongoing investigation, so there isn't anything to say,'' said Sgt. Glenn Miner, public information officer for the New York State Police, which is assisting the State Racing and Wagering Board.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that a bettor hacked into computers processing the bets and was able to change them after the start of the Breeders' Cup at Arlington Park in Illinois on Oct. 26.

To win a Pick Six, a bettor must select the winner in six races.

One official, speaking on the condition on anonymity, said investigators were also looking at wagers worth more than $100,000 that were cashed at the Catskill outlet before the Breeders' Cup. One theory is that those bets were made to test whether the system could be manipulated.

Two of the bets were made at Belmont Park and an Illinois harness track, The New York Times reported Thursday. Two winning tickets being examined by investigators are a Pick Four at Balmoral Park in Crete, Ill., on Oct. 3, and a Pick Six at Belmont on Oct. 5.

The total pool for the Balmoral bet was $14,960, with a winning $2 ticket worth $1,851.20. One of the tickets was paid to a phone account from Catskill belonging to DaSilva, the Times reported. The Pick Six at Belmont had a pool of $1,259,009. There were more than 70 winning tickets, each worth $13,070, and eight were from DaSilva's phone account, the Times reported.

Don Groth, president of the Catskill Region Off-Track Betting Corporation, would not confirm DaSilva was the third person but said he turned over the names of two account holders.

Stacy Clifford, a spokeswoman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, did not return phone calls from The Associated Press. A New York City phone number listed for DaSilva was disconnected.

Davis, a computer service business owner, had the only winning Ultra Pick Six ticket for the Breeders' Cup. The $12 ticket -- the equivalent of six $2 winning tickets each worth $428,392 -- also produced 108 consolation tickets, each worth $4,606.20 for five of six winners. The cost of Davis' bets was $1,152.

Questions were raised the day after the Breeders' Cup because of the unusual wager: Each Pick Six ticket was exactly the same; each had the winners of the first four races in which only one horse was selected; and long shots won two of the races. The final two races had all the horses in the field as possible winners.

Usually, bettors try to increase their chances of winning a Pick Six wager by choosing different combinations.

Also Wednesday, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association added a computer systems and security team from Ernst & Young to its new NTRA Wagering Technology Working Group.

The Working Group was formed last week to promote industry-wide solutions to issues raised in connection with the Pick Six betting probe.

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