01/16/2009 12:00AM

England's new track shuts down

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Great Leighs Racecourse in England has been shut down by the British Horseracing Authority just nine months after it became the first new racetrack to open in Great Britain since 1929. The track, struggling financially, had been operating since Jan. 1 on a temporary license, which the authority on Friday declined to extend.

Track officials said Friday that they were confident that they would obtain a new license and reopen in time for a scheduled meeting on Jan. 29.

* The Diamond Stakes will become the first group race in Ireland to be run on a synthetic surface when it is held at Dundalk on Oct. 2. Won by Muhannak last year before his victory in the Breeders Cup Marathon, the

1 1/4-mile Polytrack contest has been upgraded to Group 3 status from listed.