02/19/2003 12:00AM

Fonner Park track report


GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - Fonner Park lost one racing program and two-thirds of another in the aftermath of the snowstorm that whipped through Nebraska last weekend and later left its mark on the East Coast.

Following rain all day Friday, the precipitation switched over to snow later that night making for dangerous driving conditions. While the Grand Island area escaped with only about three inches of snow, locations to the east received considerably more.

After canceling the Saturday card early in the morning, track officials were hopeful of completing Sunday's card given a warming forecast. Unfortunately, the temperature went down to nearly zero Saturday night and left the track frozen down to the base.

As the track began to thaw on Sunday, ice kept coming up out of the cushion. Riders voted nearly unanimously not to complete the card after three races had been run. The muddy conditions were complicated by slick spots in the base.

Fonner has rescheduled last Saturday's Grasmick Handicap, a race Leaping Plum was attempting to win for the eighth time in the last nine years, for this Saturday. The Grasmick will be run as the co-feature with the Bachman Stakes for 3-year-olds. Both races will be run at four furlongs. Saturday and Sunday will offer 10-race programs to recover some of the lost races.