10/07/2003 11:00PM

Aqueduct to limit access


While the Aqueduct meet will open as scheduled on Oct. 29, patrons will not be able to roam the plant as freely as usual.

Because of incomplete construction of a casino at Aqueduct, several parts of the plant will be off limits. The entire second floor grandstand as well as the backyard area will be closed.

Only the first floor of the grandstand will be open, and fans will be able to gain access only through admission gate C (subway gate). There will be no access to the building from gate D (northern end), and patrons who normally parked in the Rockaway Boulevard lot may now park in the Pitkin Area lot or can be bused to the stop at the Clubhouse/Turf and Field Corner.

The third floor of the grandstand will now be reclassified as part of the clubhouse. Patrons using this floor will enter through the main clubhouse entrance, go up to the third floor, and enter that area through the Manhattan Terrace.

The Aqueduct fall/winter meet runs through Dec. 31. The 2004 meet opens Jan. 1 and runs through next May 2.

Track officials had hoped that the construction of a casino at Aqueduct would have been close to being completed by now. But with the federal government threatening to indict NYRA in connection with the conviction of 19 mutuel clerks on charges of tax evasion and money-laundering, the project was put on hold by MGM, NYRA's partner in the casino project.

At the time the project was halted, on Aug. 7, several parts of the plant were in the process of being demolished.