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Drainage problems lead to cancellation of racing

September 18, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -A drainage problem on the recently refurbished racetrack at Charles Town Races & Slots led to live races being canceled earlier this week, a spokesman for the track said Friday.

Live racing is canceled tonight as well, due to a combination of Friday's poor weather and inspection of the drainage system, said Eric Schippers, vice president of public affairs for Penn National Gaming. Penn National is the parent company for the racetrack.

"We want to go back and be sure ... the fixes we have made have held," Schippers said.

Schippers said patrons should continue to check with the course, but track officials need some dry weather to complete their inspections. Other entertainment options are not affected by the track closure.

The resurfaced, lengthened and upgraded track reopened last month after a closure of several weeks and $8 million in upgrades.

A grounds worker driving a tractor discovered an area underneath the track's surface where water was not properly draining earlier this week, Schippers said.

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The drainage problem was not an immediate safety problem for horses, but it could have become one had it not been addressed by causing an uneven track surface, Schippers said.

Officials closed the track for live racing on Wednesday and Thursday so workers could inspect the drainage system and remove the collected water, Schippers said. He said no other problems were discovered with the drainage system.

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