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Friday, November 8
Churchill Downs beefs up betting security



LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Churchill Downs Inc. is beefing up security to protect the betting system at its six racetracks, a move prompted by the investigation into suspicious Breeders' Cup wagers.

Three new measures will take effect Wednesday at tote company hubs operating at facilities owned by Churchill Downs, including Arlington Park, where the Breeders' Cup was held Oct. 26.

Thomas H. Meeker, president and chief executive of Churchill Downs, said Friday he wants to "allay fears and move briskly to improving consumer confidence.''

With the new security, an automatic betting lockout will be triggered at least one minute before the official start of the race, allowing for bet collection and tabulation of final odds. The change applies to on-track, off-track and electronic mutuel pool wagering of all races. Officials are still studying how to treat out-of-state money not in by deadline.

"The objective there is to attempt to get final odds posted on the board prior to the time the horses leave the gate,'' Meeker said.

The company's racetracks will no longer take bets for pools from hub facilities without front-end electronic recording devices, which leave an audit trail from the time the wager is placed.

The third change calls for a review of winning simulcast wagers in multiple races. The tote company handling bets deemed irregular or questionable will be required to provide details of the transactions to the relevant racing organization investigating the wager.

Keeneland in Lexington and Del Mar in California plan to implement similar measures, after endorsing reforms suggested Friday by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Officials have not decided whether the changes are permanent or temporary. Meeker could not specify a cost for the security measures.

"If there's anything we can do to improve that, we ought to do it, regardless of cost,'' he said.

The action is in response to a suspicious Pick Six bet worth $3 million placed before the Breeders' Cup. Racing officials suspect the computer system that handled the bets was manipulated to ensure winning tickets.

Besides Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., and Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, the company owns: Calder Race Course in Miami; Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky.; Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.; and Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind.

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