Storm Leads Racetracks to Cancel Programs

A winter storm and cold temperatures forced the cancellation of live racing.

A broad winter storm and cold temperatures forced the cancellation of live racing in the East and Midwest Jan. 30.

Oaklawn Park, which canceled live racing Jan. 29, also canceled Jan. 30-31 after consulting with horsemen and racing officials. Gaming and full-card simulcasts weren’t affected.

Laurel Park in Maryland canceled its nine-race card, while Aqueduct in New York ended its program after the third race because of cold temperatures.

At Oaklawn in Arkansas, general manager Eric Jackson said the track’s “first priority is always to the safety of the horses and jockeys, as well as to our out-of-town patrons, who drive some distance to see the live horses in person. However, the intensity of the cold from the wintry weather of the past two days has created a potentially unsafe racetrack condition for today. And the governor’s disaster declaration, combined with the advisories from the Arkansas State Patrol, have convinced us that it is unwise to put our patrons at risk of life and limb to come to Oaklawn to see the live performances.”

Jackson said the King Cotton Stakes, scheduled for Jan. 30, would be brought back in the coming week. There are no plans to add make up days to the original 2010 schedule.

Live racing at Laurel was canceled Jan. 30 after the onset of heavy snowfall in Maryland region. The decision was made 30 minutes prior to the 12:35 p.m. EST first post.

“We were originally expecting one to two inches, but the forecast changed and now we anticipate four to six inches,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said in a statement.

The cancellation bagged the national Magna 5 wager, which had been slated to start with Laurel’s finale, the $70,000 Dancing Count Stakes. Laurel racing secretary Georganne Hale said the Dancing Count won’t be rescheduled.

Though Aqueduct canceled, Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack, located between Laurel and Aqueduct in Pennsylvania, held live racing Jan. 30.

Keeneland in Lexington closed for simulcasting after three inches of snow fell in the area. Meanwhile, Turfway Park, located about 80 miles north, ran its card despite temperatures in the low 20s. The snow skirted Northern Kentucky.