01/12/2005 1:00AM

Beulah Park track report


Despite several inches of rain and flooding that led President Bush to declare Franklin County, Ohio, where Beulah Park is located, a natural disaster area, the track's 75-day winter-spring meeting got off to a successful start last weekend.

Beulah handled more than $2 million from all sources on Monday's nine-race program, the first time that mark has been eclipsed at the track since last March.

Heavy thunderstorms hit the central Ohio area Tuesday and the track narrowly averted a mid-card cancellation. A vote among the riders on whether to continue following the fourth race ended in an 8-8 tie with three abstentions, and track management decided to continue racing.

The remainder of the program was run without incident, although the last race was conducted in near darkness, rendering the photo-finish camera useless. The lack of a clear photo-finish image ended up not being a factor as the first four finishers were each clear of one another.

* The long-awaited appearance of jockey Shelley Moran and owner-trainer Tim Maxey on television's "Judge Mathis" show took place Monday around the country.

Moran and Maxey were engaged to be married before splitting up last summer. Maxey took Moran to court seeking the return of the engagement ring.

Maxey and Moran hurled accusations at one another for several minutes during the trial. Ultimately the judge ruled that Moran must give the two-carat ring back, and Maxey took possession on the show.