03/21/2002 12:00AM

Johannesburg race gets OK


Plans for the race being created by Lingfield Park in England in an effort to attract Johannesburg have been approved by the British Horseracing Board.

The 50,000-pound ($71,400) event, to be run on Saturday, April 6 at the track, 20 miles south of London, will be sponsored by the Australian brewery Foster's and is being billed as a Kentucky Derby Trial, although its official name has not yet been determined. It will be an allowance race run at one mile on the left-handed all-weather course. The course is uphill for the first three furlongs of the mile, then, after a turn, downhill for the next two furlongs before a turn into the three-furlong, slightly downhill stretch.

The race will be open to all 3-year-olds. Colts and geldings will carry 123 pounds, fillies 118. Group 1 winners will be assigned a 3-pound penalty. Thus, Johannes-burg would carry 126 pounds, meaning that he would be giving maiden colts just three pounds.

Officials at Lingfield are hoping that the break in weights will help attract Johannesburg. His trainer, Aidan O'Brien, has not yet committed Johannesburg to Lingfield, although he did work him on the all-weather track there on Tuesday.

Arena Leisure, owners of Lingfield Park, are currently negotiating a simulcasting deal for the American market.