Tote error causes havoc at Belmont Park

An error by Am Tote forced four horses who raced Friday at Belmont Park to run for purse money only, meaning they participated in their respective races, but wagering was not accepted on them.

According to Steve Lewandowski, the steward for the New York State Gaming Commission, Am Tote published on Friday the numbers of the horses who were scratched Thursday. Lewandowski said wagering had begun before the error was noticed, so the stewards decided to allow the horses to run for purse money only, thus not penalizing the owners or trainers of those horses.

"They used the scratches for yesterday today," Lewandowski said. "Bettors were informed those horses were scratched."

The horses in question were Daves Gone Bananas (race 1), Son of Oahu (race 4), Dighton (race 5), and More Than Kisses (race 6).

Coincidentally, the stewards on Friday issued a $7,500 fine to Am Tote International for an incident that occurred at Aqueduct in February. On Feb. 11, Am Tote erroneously published the scratch of the No. 3 horse in race 4 when in fact it was the No. 4 horse in race 3 who was scratched. Further, Am Tote "re-livened" the No. 3 horse in race 4 without proper notification to officials, according to the ruling.

Asked if Am Tote could face another fine for Friday's mishap, Lewandowski said, "We're going to look at it. Hopefully, it won't take four months to decide."