Bowl games vulnerable?

There is expected to be beefed-up security at this season's major college football bowl games and the Army-Navy game .

Paul Hoolahan, executive director of the Sugar Bowl, said that security for the game, to be played Jan. 2 at the 65,900-seat Louisiana Superdome, is always pretty tight. It is comparable to a Super Bowl, which will be also be played in New Orleans a few weeks later.

"I'm sure this time it will be off the charts," Hoolahan said.

Hoolahan said it didn't matter that the Sugar Bowl is the only one of the four Bowl Championship Series games to be played in an indoor stadium.

"We're so identifiable," he said. "We're such a huge facility. We're a target facility."

Mitch Dorger, CEO of the Rose Bowl, said the Pasadena, Calif., Police Department is well-versed in making sure that fans and participants at major sporting events in its city are safe. Dorger said that the experience comes from being the host of everything from Super Bowls to international soccer matches, including one a couple of years ago between the United States and Iran.

But much of the policy in place now goes back to the department's preparation for the Rose Bowl parade and game in 2000, when there were threats surrounding the Millennium Celebration.

'The security there is at a very high level because of the Millennium," Dorger said Friday.

Naval Academy acting athletic director Capt. Kevin Sinnett said that the Army-Navy classic in Philadelphia will be an obvious candidate for stepped-up security precautions.

"I would expect there is going to be increased security, but as far as who, how and how much, we haven't gotten to that point," Sinnett said. "We'll have our regular meeting Monday to discuss it. It's a little premature right now.

"We're still on Condition Charlie [alert status below Delta, the highest alert] and we've had a couple meetings to decide how we're going to handle the Boston College game [Nov. 22], but no decisions yet."

Caution at the track

Except for major events such as the Triple Crown races and Breeders' Cup series, horse racing seldom attracts enough patrons to one venue to be considered a likely terrorist target.

That's one of the reasons Pimlico was racing Friday and yesterday while other sports were dark.

"I really don't think racetracks will be hit," said R.L. Young of Laurel, who was at Pimlico on Friday. "I don't think they are a big enough symbol. Whoever was behind these attacks clearly had a well-focused operation and hit the symbol of our military and a major symbol of our commerce."

Still, Joe De Francis, president and CEO of the Maryland Jockey Club, said that security at Pimlico, the current site of thoroughbred racing in the state, has been heightened.

"We have quietly [increased security]," he said, declining to offer specifics. "The less we say about it, the better."

De Francis said it was too early to consider security at the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown that draws 100,000 people to Pimlico in mid-May.

The next major gathering at a horse track in this country will be Oct. 27 at Belmont Park. Situated on Long Island about 20 miles east of Manhattan, Belmont will entertain about 50,000 patrons on this country's richest day of horse racing.