11/20/2004 12:00AM

Portland Meadows stops program

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Friday night's program at Portland Meadows was canceled after three races when the jockeys declined to ride, citing unsafe track conditions.

The track was extremely wet because of a procedure performed at the insistence of the Oregon Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. The group wanted the silt washed out of the track by repeatedly mixing the surface with graders and harrows, then drenching it with water.

According to the track's general manager, Chris Dragone, the riders felt the procedure made the track slick and sticky for workouts Friday, but they agreed to try riding that night. Three races into the scheduled nine-race card, the riders determined the track was unsafe.

The track was closed for workouts Saturday, but racing resumed Saturday afternoon. Six-furlong races on the card were shortened to five, as the jockeys said the worst part of the track was between the six-furlong pole in the chute and the five-furlong pole.- Dennis Dodge