Rosecroft Raceway was forced to take a loss of almost $17,000 Friday night after money wagered on a horse that was declared a nonstarter after the race was not taken out of the mutuel pools.

In the seventh race Friday, Barton Lobell choked, broke stride and was pulled up by driver Jimmy Morand to prevent the pacer from falling, according to judges. Morand turned Barton Lobell about a sixteenth of a mile before the starting line.

Shortly after the race, judges declared the horse a nonstarter and an announcement was made that all wagers on Barton Lobell would be refunded. Barton Lobell was second choice in the triple race, at 6-to-1 odds.

However, because of what track president William Miller admitted was a track error, the tote company was not notified that Barton Lobell was a nonstarter. The race was made official and the posted payoffs included the money wagered on Barton Lobell.

According to racing rules, once the official sign is posted, no changes can be made in the payoffs.

The problem was compounded when fans who wagered on Barton Lobell could not be given refunds Friday night since tickets already had been cashed on the race and the computer could not be programmed to determine the refund amount. Refund figures were determined by hand and will be distributed to fans during the meet or by mail.

Rosecroft, therefore, had to pay out the $17,000 wagered on Barton Lobell on Friday in payoffs for that race and also refund that amount to any ticket holders of the horse.

According to Miller and presiding judge Kent Hastings, Barton Lobell was declared a nonstarter because there was doubt as to whether Barton Lobell was a starter. U.S. Trotting Association rules state that no recall is necessary for a breaking horse.