OSAKA (Kyodo) The Japan Racing Association held its first races since last week’s earthquake on Saturday at the Hanshin and Kokura tracks, with the proceeds going to the victims of the nation’s worst natural disaster.

Nakayama Racecourse in Chiba Prefecture will remain closed at least until the end of the month with the area still conducting rolling blackouts and the transportation network operating at far less than 100 percent.

“We want to do anything we can to help, even the smallest of things,” jockey Yutaka Take said following the day’s final race at Hanshin Racecourse in Hyogo.

The Japanese flag was raised at half-mast at the two tracks, where a moment of silence was observed ahead of the first race and participating connections wore black armbands.

Take and the jockeys also personally pleaded for donations from the fans.

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