Many racetracks in the Midwest and on the East Coast cancelled live racing Saturday due to a massive winter storm moving through those parts of the country.
At Aqueduct, live racing and simulcasting were called off for both Saturday and Sunday. The track issued a statement saying Saturday's featured $100,000-added Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III) has been rescheduled for next Sunday, Jan. 30. The race, the first graded stakes of the year in New York, will be reopened to original nominees and re-drawn on Friday. Live racing is scheduled to resume on Wednesday, Jan. 26.
Meanwhile, Maryland Jockey Club officials cancelled live racing at Laurel Park and simulcasting at Laurel and its sister track, Pimlico Race Course. Laurel Park was scheduled to reopen Saturday afternoon for live racing for the first time in 10 months, after a multimillion dollar renovation that included the widening of both racing surfaces.
"We are extremely disappointed because we have been looking forward to the grand reopening for quite some time," said Maryland Jockey Club chief operating officer Lou Raffetto. "We are going to protect the track from the storm, so that it remains in great shape."
The opening day promotions that included free admission, a free program, and a donation of $1 for every person attending by the Maryland Jockey Club to the American Red Cross International Response Fund have been rescheduled for next Saturday, although the track will reopen for live racing Wednesday. Saturday's feature, the $50,000 What A Summer Stakes, will be run next Saturday as well.
"Even though we'll be racing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week, we wanted to bring back today's events on Saturday, our biggest day of the week," said Jim Gagliano, executive vice president of Maryland Racing Operations.
The weather was also responsible for cancellation of racing at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky Saturday, one day after the track cancelled following the fourth race. A decision is pending regarding rescheduling the $50,000 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes, originally slated for Saturday.
In neighboring Ohio, Beulah Park has cancelled its live racing program for Saturday, also citing weather conditions. Track officials hope to conduct live racing on Monday Jan. 24, 2005.
Penn National Race Course and Mountaineer Park also cancelled racing Saturday.