08/19/2008 11:00PM

Entire York meet washed out


York Racecourse has abandoned its entire four-day Ebor Meeting after a Wednesday morning inspection found that the Yorkshire track was still waterlogged from almost continuous rain during the past week.

As a result, the Yorkshire Oaks and the Nunthorpe Stakes have been switched to Newmarket on Friday, while the Juddmonte International Stakes will be run at Newmarket on Saturday. The Great Voltigeur Stakes will be run at Goodwood on Saturday.

Ice Queen, runner up in the Irish Oaks, will face Michita, winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes and older fillies Allegretto and Passage of Time in the $560,000 Yorkshire Oaks, a 1 1/2-mile Group 1. The five-furlong, Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes, worth $497,000, features the defending title-holder, Kingsgate Native, who also recently won the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. Duke of Marmalade and New Approach are expected to clash in the rescheduled Juddmonte International on Saturday.

The loss of the Ebor Meeting has struck a massive blow to York, which must refund nearly $5 million in admission fees. Meanwhile, the British bookmaking industry estimates that the meet's cancellation has resulted in the loss of $400 million in handle.

The racecourse, built on a stretch of land called the Knavesmire because its boggy conditions have proved to be a trap for escaped convicts since medieval times, has always been notorious for heavy ground caused in part by the nearby River Ouse overflowing its banks. Efforts to improve drainage are continuous at York, but they came to no avail this summer.