Sportsman's Drainage System 'Snowed Under'

The state-of-the-art drainage system at Sportsman's Park fell victim to a late-season snowstorm that forced cancellation of racing after the second race on Friday (March 16) and the entire St. Patrick's Day card on Saturday.

A track spokesman said the quickly melting snow apparently clogged the drains at the bottom of the track, preventing additional moisture from running through. As a result, there was so much water on the track that riders complained they couldn't see through the kick-back of spray from the front-running horses.

Once the drains were opened, the system again did its job. Sunday's races were run on a track rated "fast."

Sportsman's is in the second year of using a "temporary" track built over the asphalt surface of the Chicago Motor Speedway. The track is specifically designed to drain quickly, preventing cancellations from variable winter weather.

Since Sportsman's is running only 43 live racing days this year, it is unlikely the lost cards will be made up, a spokesman said. The only available make-up dates would the normally dark Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Sportsman's will host the 44th running of the Illinois Derby on April 7.