12/19/2001 1:00AM

NTRA eyes backup awards site


Officials of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association have begun scouting alternate sites for the Eclipse Awards dinner on Feb. 18 because of delays completing construction at the south Florida hotel where it is scheduled to be held.

Earlier this week, a water pipe at the yet-to-be-opened Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla., burst, forcing the developers to push back the opening of the hotel from Jan. 10 to Jan. 31. The water damaged the second and third floors of the hotel.

"We're not anticipating any change, because we've gotten assurances from everyone that is involved that they will open, but we're scouting other locations just in case," said Eric Wing, a spokesman for the NTRA, on Wednesday. "Fortunately, there are a lot of places within a short distance of the hotel."

The Eclipse Awards dinner is held in conjunction with the National Turf Writers Association and Daily Racing Form.