03/03/2011 12:56PM

Aqueduct cancels Thursday racing

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Aqueduct was forced to cancel its live racing program and simulcast operations Thursday after casino construction workers accidentally severed a cable that made it impossible for the New York Racing Association to take wagers or broadcast its races.

According to NYRA officials, a major electronic cable that leads from nearby Rockaway Blvd. to Aqueduct was accidentally severed by a crew working on the Aqueduct casino, which is slated to open in late summer with 4,500 slot machines. The severed cable caused Aqueduct to lose all communications with its tote company, made the television cameras inoperable, and cut out Internet service in the building.

The incident happened just as Aqueduct was opening its doors to customers, who had to turn around return to their cars or subway platform. Because of the problem, simulcasting was also canceled at Belmont Park, where NYRA has operated an offtrack betting facility since late December.

It was the eighth full card cancellation of the inner track meet which began in December. A ninth card was cut short after three races.

In an effort to resume racing on Friday, NYRA was planning to shift some of its tote operations to Belmont Park and run new cable lines to the camera towers, which were expected to be installed by Thursday night. The cable damage itself is expected to be fixed no later than Saturday, according to a NYRA spokesman.