02/18/2003 12:00AM

Snow forces more cancellations


Severe winter weather in the northeast U.S. continued to wreak havoc with racing cards on Tuesday. The normally light Tuesday racing schedule was made even lighter by cancellations at Philadelphia Park in Pennsylvania, Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts, and Mountaineer Park in West Virginia.

More cancellations had also piled up for Wednesday's racing schedule. On Tuesday morning, Philadelphia, Penn National in Pennsylvania, and Charles Town Races in West Virginia had already announced cancellations of their Wednesday cards.

In New York, racing officials said they planned to go ahead with a special Wednesday card, despite the worst snowstorm in the region in seven years. Aqueduct had to cancel its Presidents Day card on Monday, and had rescheduled the same racing card for Wednesday.

At Laurel Park in Maryland, where the winter storm forced cancellations of the entire weekend schedule racing officials plan to have the track open for training on Wednesday morning and expect live racing to resume on Thursday, according to Lou Raffetto, the chief operating officer of Laurel.

Raffetto said that Laurel's racing office has tentatively scheduled 11 races for Saturday and Sunday, up from nine, in an effort to make up for some of the lost races over the three-day weekend. Two $200,000 stakes scheduled for last weekend, the General George Handicap and the Barbara Fritchie Stakes, will be run instead on Saturday.

"It's been a big hit on our business, but that's weather," Raffetto said.