03/15/2011 12:40PM

Japanese racing curtailed at tracks closest to earthquake's epicenter


The 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday continues to play havoc with racing there. On Tuesday, the Japan Racing Association announced that all four of the remaining meetings at Nakayama this month had been canceled. Last weekend’s two meetings at the track east of Tokyo had previously been canceled.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Racing announced that it was canceling all six remaining meetings scheduled this month at Mizusawa, which along with Fukushima Racecourse lies closest of all Japanese tracks to the earthquake epicenter and has suffered most severely from the tsunami, including extensive damage to its grandstand.

The JRA has rescheduled a number of stakes races, moving some of them to tracks in the western part of the country where earthquake damage has been minimal. The canceled March 12 meeting at Hanshin near Osaka will be held at Hanshin on Monday. The card will include the Hochi Hai Fillies Revue, a prep for the Japanese 1000 Guineas.

The meetings originally scheduled for Kokura on the southern island of Kyushu on March 12-13 have been rescheduled at the same track on March 26-27. Two stakes races that were to have been run at Nakayama this weekend have been moved to Hanshin. They are the Flower Cup, a Grade 3 prep for the Japanese 1000 Guineas. It will be run on Saturday. The Grade 3 Spring Stakes, a prep for the Japanese 2000 Guineas, will be run on Sunday.