07/07/2005 12:00AM

Epsom card canceled after London blasts


After four bomb blasts had ripped through the London transport system Thursday morning, the evening meeting at Epsom Racecourse was canceled in light of what course clerk Andrew Cooper described as "the escalating situation in London."

Although Epsom had earlier announced that racing would proceed at the Surrey track, which lies just 17 miles south of London, officials decided to cancel the meeting at 4:30pm (11:30am EDT), just two hours before the first race was scheduled to go off. With transport systems throughout London virtually shut down, the city's Metropolitan Police were urging people not to travel unless it was absolutely essential.

"We feel it would be inappropriate to stage a public entertainment today, and so tonight's meeting has therefore been canceled," Cooper said.

Racing, however, at Britain's three afternoon meetings at Newmarket, 65 miles northeast of London, at Folkestone, 75 miles southeast of London, and at Warwick, 95 miles northwest of London, were conducted. The meeting on Newmarket's July Course was the third and final day of its prestigious July Meeting.

Racing at the Thursday evening meeting at Doncaster, located 175 miles north of London, was also conducted.