Long List of Tracks Cancel Weekend Racing Due to Heat

POSTED ON  |  20-07-2019

Hosing Horse
With extreme heat expected across a wide swath of the United States this weekend, a number of tracks have decided to cancel or postpone racing. Belterra Park, Ellis Park, and Woodbine canceled their July 19 cards. The following tracks called off their July 20 race cards: Belterra Park, Delaware Park, Ellis Park, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, Laurel Park, Parx Racing, and Saratoga Race Course.

Laurel also called off its July 21 card. Hollywood Races at Charles Town Races has pushed back its post time Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. In Maryland, where the heat index is expected to reach 105-110 degrees Saturday and Sunday, the decision to cancel those cards was made by Maryland racing officials in consultation with the Maryland Thoroughbed Horsemen's Association.

Maryland Equine Medical and Health Director Dr. Elizabeth "Libby" Daniel said Maryland racing doesn't have a "set number for a heat index" that warrants a cancellation, but she has had discussions with officials in Maryland and other states. There is agreement that a heat index of 105 is an "absolute." Daniel said the latest information projects heat indexes of 108 for Friday, 111 for Saturday, and 110 for Sunday, and she will closely monitor the Friday card. "I'm concerned about Friday," Daniel said. "I'm going to get up in the morning and check all of my different resources and see what happens."

New York also noted the soaring heat index (based on temperature and humidity) expected Saturday in postponing its Saturday card to Sunday.  "This is a responsible and prudent decision that aligns with our New York Racetrack Heat Management Protocol designed to ensure safe racing for all participants," said New York State Equine Medical Director Scott Palmer in the release. As of Friday morning, Saratoga planned to race Sunday. The postponed Saturday card included the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), which will now be run Sunday, according to NYRA. Sunday's 13-race card will include the Shuvee Handicap (G3), the entirety of Saturday's 11-race card, and a steeplechase allowance.

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