Edited press release
Sam Houston Race Park will shut down Sept. 22-24 because of Hurricane Rita, which is approaching the United States coast.
No live racing was scheduled for the weekend, but the northwest Houston racetrack is open seven days a week for simulcasting. With reports of Hurricane Rita approaching Category 5 status, officials didn't want to endanger employees and racing fans.
"We evaluated the reports regarding the impact of this storm and felt that in the best interest of our employees and simulcast patrons that we should close Sam Houston Race Park for Friday and Saturday," said Ann McGovern, vice president of operations. "Depending on the severity of the storm, we are hopeful that we can reopen for simulcasting on Sunday, Sept. 25."
Meteorologists are forecasting the arrival of Hurricane Rita on the Texas Coast and Houston Sept. 23. Winds of 70 miles per hour, heavy rain, flooding, and possible tornados are expected. Residents of Galveston and other coastal communities have already begun evacuating. Houston Mayor Bill White has encouraged all Houston employers to excuse employees from work for the remainder of the week.
Sam Houston concluded its 2005 American Quarter Horse meet Sept. 10. Live Thoroughbred racing returns Oct. 28.