Cup, Lone Star Officials Meet on Heightened Security
by Tom LaMarra
Date Posted: 10/29/2004 6:55:50 PM
Last Updated: 10/31/2004 9:00:42 PM

Breeders' Cup and Lone Star Park executives met the afternoon of Oct. 29 to discuss plans given the possibility of a heightened terror alert in the United States, but a strategy already was in place, according to an official close to the situation.

The Associated Press Oct. 29 reported a shrouded man claiming to be an American member of al Qaeda promised attacks that will make streets in the United States "run red with blood" in a video aired Oct. 28 by ABC News. Intelligence officials, however, have not been able to verify the tape's authenticity, and officials don't have information linking the video to a specific threat.

"We remain concerned, however, about al Qaeda's interest in attacking the homeland," an official said on the condition of anonymity.

As the news spread around the country, Breeders' Cup and Lone Star officials held a meeting to discuss the situation. It was one of several security-related meetings held in advance of the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

Officials wouldn't discuss details after the meeting. But in a statement, Lone Star president Corey Johnsen said: "Every measure has been taken to ensure the security and safety of our customers. We have been in close coordination with regard to security measures with key local, state, and national law enforcement agencies. We are confident that everyone who comes to the Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park will enjoy a great afternoon of horse racing."

Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. reserved comment pending release of the official statement from Lone Star.

On Oct. 28, Paula Flowerday, executive secretary of the Texas Racing Commission, said the agency has been working with local law enforcement officials and track security personnel in advance of the Cup.

U.S. government officials said the level of information picked up about an election terror threat has ebbed recently, but they still believe the danger posed by al Qaeda has not waned. Law enforcement authorities are making arrests and increasing surveillance, tracking several hundred people nationwide in a final push to break up any potential plots before the Nov. 2 elections and beyond, the AP reported.

An official also said the video appears to have been made in the last several months, perhaps as recently as late summer. ABC News obtained the video in Pakistan from a source known to have Taliban and al Qaeda connections, according to an ABC report.

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