07/18/2008 11:00PM

Transformer fire at Belmont


ELMONT, N.Y. - Despite a transformer fire that forced the temporary evacuation of all Belmont Park employees Saturday morning, racing went on as planned at Belmont Park Saturday afternoon.

The fire created some power failures in the grandstand, thus that part of the building was closed to patrons on Saturday. The New York Racing Association offered free admission to the clubhouse and free parking for Saturday's 10-race card which featured the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, NYRA officials announced that the grandstand would also be closed Sunday and that free admission to the clubhouse and free parking would be available for Sunday's closing-day card. Racing moves to Saratoga on Wednesday.

Saturday's transformer fire came 15 days after another transformer also went, causing a smaller fire at the end of the July Fourth card.

Fire departments from three municipalities were called onto the scene at Belmont, as employees and early arriving fans were forced to wait outside. The building re-opened at about 11:15 a.m.