09/22/2001 12:00AM

No date cut for northern Cal


POMONA, Calif. - The California Horse Racing Board, rejecting the opinion of its race dates committee, on Friday voted at its monthly meeting to leave racing dates in northern California relatively unchanged for 2002.

The decision was a victory for Magna Entertainment - which runs the major tracks Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields - and for the numerous fairs that race during the summer and fall in and around the Bay Area. They, along with labor unions with workers at the tracks and fairs, lobbied against a reduction in dates, saying it would cause economic harm.

The vote was 4-2, with commissioner Marie Moretti abstaining. The two no votes were cast by CHRB chairman Robert Tourtelot, and commissioner John Harris, who are the members of the race dates committee and had recommended a reduction in dates. They originally had wanted to slash 18 days from the northern California calendar, then amended that to a nine-day reduction.

Commissioners Bill Bianco, Sheryl Granzella, Alan Landsburg, and Roger Licht voted to leave the dates alone and reject the race dates committee recommendation.

Landsburg later in the meeting was voted the new CHRB chairman, replacing Tourtelot, whose term expires next week. Licht was voted the vice-chairman.