Severe drought conditions were blamed for today's cancellation of two steeplechase races scheduled for Arlington Park on Sept. 15. The races, a $50,000 stakes and a $25,000 maiden race, failed to attract sufficient entries, and were canceled by mutual agreement between the track and the National Steeplechase Association.
"We hate to lose an opportunity of Arlington's quality, but there really was no other decision," said NSA director of racing Bill Gallo. "There were only four nominations to the stakes and six entries for the maiden race, so we couldn't justify carding the races. We don't want to put on a poor racing product."
Gallo said trainers blamed the lack of horse availability on the dry weather.
"Our trainers are based at farms where the training takes place on turf gallops, which have been hurt by the dry weather," Gallo said. "The horses simply couldn't get ready."
Arlington was dropped from the schedule for similar reasons last year, and Gallo said the NSA would work with the track to find a suitable solution.
Without Arlington, the NSA schedule now begins Feb. 21 at the Fairfax Races in Leesburg, Va.