Bay Meadows Cancels as San Francisco Mourns

Bay Meadows canceled its Monday afternoon racing program as the Bay Area continued to mourn victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

Hijacked Flight 93, which crashed near Pittsburgh, Pa., was headed to San Francisco, Calif., and area-wide memorial services were held Monday as part of an official city Day of Remembrance. Those events included a noon public service at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, led by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and religious leaders, and a memorial service at University of California-Berkeley.

Bay Meadows' decision to shut down again affected Northern California's satellite wagering network. Simulcasting centers, unable to access the host track's pari-mutuel system, had to cancel their programs, too.

"I'd really like to support the (Los Angeles County) Fair, but I can't," said Dave Elliott, who is in charge of Cal Expo's wagering facility in Sacramento. "We're forced to shut down again."

Located in San Mateo, Bay Meadows also canceled racing last Wednesday. But business was almost back to normal over the weekend. As usual, Russell Baze, Northern California's winningest jockey, was in the spotlight. The Hall of Famer rode his 7,500th victory Saturday, and was presented with a gigantic congratulatory card in the winner's circle. 

"If we allow what those terrorists did to completely upset our way of living for too long, I think it's a victory for them more than anything else," Baze told the San Jose Mercury-News after the race. "Getting on with the business of life means it's less of a victory for them.

"I'm not taking anything away from the tragedy and the losses for all those people. I don't think anyone feels the way they did before Tuesday. Whatever innocence we had a week ago I think is pretty much gone now."