Spa Race Delayed Because of Widespread Power Outage

A widespread power outage that affected the Northeast and parts of Canada the afternoon of Aug. 14 delayed the start of the seventh race at Saratoga for nine minutes.

There were no storms in the area, but the it was extremely hot and humid with air temperatures in the high 80s. The rolling blackouts apparently were caused by a fire at a Con Ed plant in New York City.

The horses were approaching the gate at 4:12 p.m. EDT when the lights at the track flickered. While there was power in some parts of the track, two of the three infield tote boards went dark.

The sound system continued to work, however, and track annnouncer Tom Durkin jokingly said: "Will the NYRA treasurer please call the Niagara-Mohawk power company immediately."

The jockeys dismounted and stood along the rail on the backstretch, where the starting gate was located for the six-furlong allowance race for New York-breds. Moments after Durkin announced the race would be run, power was restored at 4:23.

Durkin offered one final line before the race was run: "Let's put it this way--at least it's not raining today."