01/19/2002 1:00AM

Storm threat shuts tracks


In anticipation of a major winter storm moving up the East Coast, Philadelphia Park, Laurel Park, Penn National Race Course, and Charles Town canceled live racing Saturday.

Six to eight inches of snow were predicted to accumulate in the Philadelphia region. The National Weather Service predicted rain, sleet, and three to 10 inches of snow for the Baltimore and Washington areas.

Saturday's 10-race card at Philadelphia Park will be run as its Tuesday program that begins at 12:25 p.m. Eastern.

Despite the bad weather, Laurel and Pimlico remained open for simulcasting on Saturday.

Laurel was scheduled to resume live racing with an eight-race card on Sunday. Laurel will also be open for Martin Luther King Day on Monday with a nine-race card topped by the $50,000 Native Dancer Stakes.

* Heavy fog in Houston forced Sam Houston Race Park to cancel the final three races of its 10-race program Friday night. It was the first time this meet races have been canceled at Sam Houston.

"We evaluated the conditions this evening and had no choice but to cancel live racing," said Ann McGovern, vice president of operations for Sam Houston. "The safety of our riders and horses is of paramount importance."

Sam Houston's last cancellation came on Dec. 12, 2000, when the track was forced to scrap its entire program because of fog.

- Joe DeVivo and Mary Rampellini