02/04/2003 1:00AM

Mountaineer resumes cards


Mountaineer Race Track in West Virginia agreed on Tuesday morning to allow racing to resume, one day after canceling racing indefinitely to protest a horsemen's lawsuit over the track's simulcast signal.

Chuck Bailey, the president of the Mountaineer Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said that trainers and riders agreed to participate in Tuesday night's card after a meeting with Mountaineer's racing office. Bailey said the racing office assured horsemen and jockeys that the racing surface would be safe, which had not been the case Sunday and Monday.

Harry Buch, an attorney for the Mountaineer horsemen, had said on Monday night that Mountaineer was acting illegally by canceling racing without the support of horsemen. He had said that the horsemen would petition the state racing commission to have racing rescheduled.

Despite the resumption of racing, track management and horsemen remain at odds over the track's live racing schedule in 2003 and the export of Mountaineer's simulcast signal, a subject at the center of the lawsuit filed on Monday. In the suit, horsemen contend that Mountaineer is sending its signal out of state without the approval of horsemen, in violation of federal law.

Mountaineer is not only a racetrack, but a casino as well. Slot machine revenue has turned the once-moribund facility into a racetrack with competitive purses for the mid-Atlantic region.

Mountaineer attempted this year to scale back the number of live racing days at the track, from approximately 250 in 2002 to only 200 this year. Horsemen opposed the move. In a statement, Mountaineer said the horsemen's lawsuit was an attempt "to dictate the number of racing days through the court system."