05/17/2004 12:00AM

Fire shuts Assiniboia Downs

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An early-morning fire destroyed the press box at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Monday, causing damage estimated in excess of $1 million and leading to the cancellation of racing for Victoria Day weekend.

The cause of the blaze, which started around 3:30 a.m., was not immediately determined. There were no injuries, and horses stabled at the racetrack were not affected. In addition to the loss of the press facility, there was structural damage to the grandstand caused by fire and water.

Assiniboia plans to resume live racing on Friday, May 28. Harvey Warner, president of the Manitoba Jockey Club, said the track hopes to have temporary facilities in place by that time to accommodate teletimer and photo finish equipment.

Simulcast wagering has been suspended and may not resume for an even longer period, Warner said.