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Katie Davis Says NYRA Racing Office Discouraging Trainers From Riding Her


Jockey Katie Davis has alleged that the NYRA racing office has been telling trainers not to ride her because of a New York State Gaming Commission rule that requires that horses running in the same race ridden by a husband and a wife must be coupled. Davis recently married Trevor McCarthy and both are riding at Aqueduct this winter.
Because of the rule, any time McCarthy and Davis compete in the same race there is one less betting interest than normal because of the Gaming Commission rule. The TDN estimates that, on average, each time the coupling rule goes into effect, NYRA loses about $90,000 in handle because of the loss of a betting interest.
“Maybe two weeks after I started here, trainers were starting to tell me they wanted to name me on a horse,” she said. “They’d say, ‘It’s not me, it’s the racing office.’ They’ve been telling trainers if they name me on a horse the race won’t go. You’ve got the racing office convincing trainers that if they really want a race to go they had better name someone else.”

Davis said she has heard the same story from several trainers.
“I’ve heard this from a lot of the trainers, pretty much everybody I ride for,” she said.
“I understand there is a horse shortage and the racing office is doing its best to put together a card, but they shouldn’t do it at the expense of someone’s career. That isn’t right,” said Davis’ agent, Mike Monroe.
Through spokesperson Pat McKenna, NYRA denied Davis’s allegations.
“These accusations are completely false and without merit,” McKenna said. “In fact, NYRA has consistently advocated for modernized rules regarding coupled entries in New York state and we will continue to do so for the benefit of New York racing as a whole.”
Davis and McCarthy, who were married in mid-December, came to New York after riding in Maryland and were unaware of the Gaming Commission rule. Starting Jan. 1, the Gaming Commission began to enforce the rule regarding married riders. Through Feb. 5, McCarthy has had 12 winners at the meet from 122 mounts. Davis has gone just one for 43. She picked up her first winner Friday, one race after crossing the wire first only to get taken down by the stewards for interference. Their ruling came after her brother, Dylan Davis, claimed foul against her. Horses ridden by siblings, like brothers Irad and Jose Ortiz, do not have to be coupled.
Davis said she has no intention of returning to Maryland.
“Trevor and I have decided to stick together and not let these people walk all over us,” she said. “It’s not fair. I’m just trying to make a living and there’s no reason for me to stop riding here.”
Davis has hired an attorney, who has asked the Gaming Commission to issue an emergency rule rescinding the current rule covering married riders.
In a letter sent to Robert Williams, the executive director of the New York State Gaming Commission, lawyer William Gotimer Jr. wrote: “This rule has added to the many difficulties female riders face in pursuit of their careers and should be rectified. Due to application of this anachronistic rule Ms. Davis must make a choice between entering into the Constitutionally protected state of matrimony and furthering her career. This is not something that should be mandated by a government agency.”

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NYRA Excludes Computer Players from Pick Six Pool


By Bill Finley NYRA is no longer accepting wagers from customers using computer assisted wagering (CAW) programs on its Empire Six wager. The new policy took effect Feb. 4.
The Empire Six joins NYRA’s Late Pick 5 and the Cross Country Pick 5 as pools that are now closed to a group of bettors who use computer algorithms to place their wagers and are known for betting huge amounts, particularly when there is a large carryover in a pool or a mandatory payout day.
This was the second step in a process that began Jan. 1 when NYRA eliminated the jackpot portion of the Pick Six wager. No matter how many winning tickets are sold on the bet, which costs 20 cents, the entire pool is now paid out every racing day.

With its new policies, NYRA is attempting to deal with what is becoming a growing problem for the sport in general. It is hard for tracks to turn down the business from CAW players because of the substantial contributions they make to handle.  However, the computer players are generally so successful that their winning wagers cut substantially into payoffs, penalizing players who don’t enjoy the same advantages. Over time, catering to CAW players runs the risk of emptying the pockets of a track’s regular players.
The computer players have also been known to scoop up entire pools of wagers like jackpot Pick Sixes on the mandatory payout day. On Nov. 30, the Empire Six at Aqueduct paid $482,817. There was only one winning ticket on the bet and it was sold by the Elite Turf Club, which caters to large volume, computer players.
“What we have seen with the Empire Six is that the jackpot pool is built and supported largely by the everyday horseplayers,” NYRA spokesperson Pat McKenna said. “When it comes to mandatory payout days, there tends to be an unequal playing field.”
McKenna said that the move to keep the large players out of the Empire Six came after NYRA began analyzing its wagering menu and what impact the CAW players were having on ordinary customers.
He also acknowledged that NYRA can more easily turn away handle from the computer bettors than most tracks because it is a non-profit. He said it was “likely” that handle would decline because of the steps NYRA has taken.
“The fact that NYRA is organized as a not-for-profit with the clear goal of supporting thoroughbred racing in New York state puts us in an advantageous position in that this is not strictly about the bottom line,” McKenna said. “It is about supporting our everyday horseplayers who are consistently wagering day in and day out.”
On Thursday, $53,362 was bet on the Empire Six, a bit more than what was bet the prior Thursday when $51,598 was wagered.
NYRA still accepts wagers from CAW players in all pools excepting the Empire Six, the late Pick 5 and the Cross Country Pick 5. Like most tracks, it is not unusual to see a horse at Aqueduct go into the gate at one price and then have the odds on it drop precipitously during a race. In such cases, it is normally the result of CAW players making large, last-second bets on a horse.

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This story was posted in Shared News and tagged CAW, Computer Assisted Wagering, Empire Six, New York Racing Association, Pat McKenna, Pick Six, wagering.

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