07/03/2001 12:00AM

Horses abandoned in Pakistan

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About 250 Thoroughbred racehorses have been abandoned at a racetrack in Karachi, Pakistan, The Associated Press reported Monday.

The racehorses were left by their owners and trainers after the track abruptly closed in March. About 50 horses have died already because of starvation and disease.

The Karachi Race Club had been home to about 600 horses before it closed, the AP said. Many of the horses were relocated to other tracks around Pakistan, where gambling is against Islamic law but tolerated by the ruling government.

The Karachi track closed when the provincial government ordered the Jockey Club of Pakistan to pay a $30,000 licensing fee. The Jockey Club refused to pay the fee, saying the government had not guaranteed that the track could reopen even if it paid.

Some trainers and owners continue to pay to feed their horses at the track, the AP said, at a cost of $200 a month. But the abandoned horses would be lucky to survive, a local trainer said, and very few would be able to run again if they did make it.