06/12/2004 12:00AM

Arlington tote board catches fire


A fire broke out in Arlington Park's tote board shortly after the last race Saturday, but by early evening the smoky blaze was under control, and Sunday's races were expected to go off as scheduled.

Less than 15 minutes after the 10th race Saturday, the tote board, located in the infield inside Arlington's turf course, began flashing gibberish, and shortly thereafter smoke was spotted curling from exhaust fans. The smoke steadily increased, and flames eventually licked through the structure, as Arlington officials, and then the Arlington Heights fire department, arrived on the scene.

There were no injuries reported, human or equine, and few fans still remained at the track at the time of the blaze. One of the fire trucks burst a leak, washing away a small section of racing surface just before the finish line, but Arlington officials said the track would be repaired in time for Sunday's races.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, but it was believed to have started suddenly in a circuit board known as the alpha-z board.

Information normally displayed on the tote board will be presented on a giant-screen monitor located in the Arlington infield. The tote board will require extensive repair, if not replacement.