11/06/2003 1:00AM

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The Emirates Racing Association season opened at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday without its four-time champion trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, who after 10 winters in Dubai has opted to run a New York-based public stable on a permanent basis. His place has been taken by his longtime UAE assistant, Doug Watson, who had one winner from six starters Thursday when Hobb Alwahtan took a 1 1/4-mile handicap by 6 3/4 lengths. . . . The Illinois Racing Board has granted Hawthorne's request to cancel racing on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve this year, as well as Thanksgiving Day 2004, because of declining entries on holiday cards the last two seasons. Hawthorne will make up one of the days on Monday, Dec. 29. . . . Jockey Rahede Teague, previously thought to have escaped serious injury when his mount broke down in the first race Sunday at Hoosier Park, broke his collarbone in the accident.