11/13/2003 1:00AM

Winds cause cancellations


High winds prompted several tracks along the East Coast to cancel their Thursday cards. Aqueduct, Penn National, Woodbine, and Laurel called off live racing for the day.

At Aqueduct, winds were gusting at 30 to 40 miles per hour on Thursday morning, and a high-wind watch was in effect for the New York City area through Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service. Weather forecasters predicted that gusts would top 50 miles per hour in the afternoon.

Gusts that exceeded 50 miles per hour in central Pennsylvania caused Penn National Race Course to call off the evening's live racing program early in the day.

"The winds throughout the mid-Atlantic region made for risky driving conditions for vans that would bring many shippers to the track," said Richard Schnaars, Penn National's general manager.

At Woodbine, near Toronto, there were wind gusts of up to 60 mph, as well as snow squalls north and northwest of the city.

At Laurel, winds were consistently clocking at 30 miles per hour with gusts of 50 miles per hour in the Baltimore area.

On Wednesday, Hawthorne Racecourse near Chicago canceled its last two races and Hoosier Park in Indiana canceled after six races because of high winds.