Although yesterday's snowstorm forced the cancellation of numerous sports events locally and nationally, it was business as usual at Bowie Race Course, where the slogan "When it snows, Bowie goes" proved accurate.

The crowd of 2,554 was the smallest in the track's 68-year history. The handle of $283,353 was also a low.

Buddy Kreitzer, general manager of the track, made the decision to go ahead with the day's schedule based on weather forecasts and reports from the state police in the morning. "I've seen it much worse . . . where it is so hard to concentrate on the other horses," said veteran jockey Bill Passmore. Jockey Vince Bracciale agreed, remembering a winter's day in New York when "it was something like 50 below zero on the track."

It was not the temperature so much as the hazardous driving conditions caused by the accumulation of snow that forced cancellations and postponements elsewhere.

At about 4 p.m., Navy decided against allowing its basketball team to make the trip from Annapolis to Northern Virginia for last night's scheduled game with George Mason. No date has been set for a makeup.

Other area college basketball games canceled: Southeastern at Gallaudet, Mount St. Mary's at Randolph-Macon, Prince George's at Charles County, Montgomery-Rockville at Chesapeake, Montgomery-Takoma Park at Cecil and a women's game at Georgetown between the Hoyas and American.

Montgomery-Rockville will attempt to play its game at Chesapeake tonight at 7:30. The Montgomery-Takoma game at Cecil has been rescheduled for Jan. 25.

Among the national games postponed were Georgia-Mississippi State, which was rescheduled for tonight, and Clemson-Furman, reset for Feb. 15.

George Washington's college swimming meet at Towson State was canceled and rescheduled for today at 4 p.m. A wrestling meet at Towson, in which George Mason and Western Maryland were to participate, was called off and has not been rescheduled.

Throughbred racing at Charles Town and Waterford in West Virginia was canceled, as was harness racing at Liberty Bell Park in Philadelphia, Freehold Park and the Meadowlands in New Jersey.