12/05/2003 12:00AM

Emerald's 2004 dates approved

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Emerald Downs was granted its request for an 89-day season in 2004 at a meeting of the Washington Horse Racing Commission on Thursday.

The Emerald season will stretch from Friday, April 16, through Monday, Sept. 20. Racing will be conducted Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through the first four weeks of the meeting, after which Thursday racing will be added. Only the last week of the meeting will have five days of racing.

In 2003, Emerald raced 92 days from April 19 through Sept. 22.

Dates were also awarded for the state's fair meetings. Sun Downs will race 10 days from April 3 through May 2. Walla Walla will race May 8 and 9 in the spring and Sept. 3, 4, and 5 in the fall. Waitsburg will race May 15 and 16, and Dayton will race May 29, 30, and 31.

The commission also assured the associations that operate the fair meets it had no objection to their plan to form an umbrella group - Blue Mountain Horse Racing, Inc. - to consolidate their insurance coverage and lower their premiums.