01/08/2005 12:00AM

Flooding shuts River Downs

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The Ohio River reached flood stage in the Cincinnati area on Friday, forcing River Downs to close its racebook indefinitely.

Although no more rain is forecast for southwestern Ohio until Tuesday, the Ohio River is expected to continue rising, cresting at an estimated 56 feet, four feet above flood stage.

Both ends of Kellogg Avenue leading to River Downs are closed to traffic because of flooding. According to track publicist John Engelhardt, officials hope to be able to reopen River Downs for simulcasting by Thursday.

"The main track will probably be covered, but the grandstand and clubhouse should be safe from any flooding," Engelhardt said. "We are putting in an entire new main track before the live racing season starts in April, so it really shouldn't hurt us at all."