11/15/2007 12:00AM

Aqueduct cancels due to track conditions

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - Racing was canceled at Aqueduct after two races Thursday on a sloppy, sealed track.

The jockeys met after the second race, during which 4-5 favorite Silver Paradise was eased, and decided they could not continue.

"The guys came back and said the track was unsafe," said jockey John Velazquez. "It's unfair and unsafe for the horses and the jockeys, and unfair to the public."

When asked about the decision, Velazquez, who didn't ride in either race Thursday, said "it was pretty obvious."

Three horses were eased in the stretch in the first race and Silver Paradise took a bad step in the second while rolling along on the lead.

"We were going nice and easy on the lead," jockey Javier Castellano said. "There was nothing wrong with the horse. She took a bad step in a hole. The track doesn't look even. I moved her out one more lane to keep her safe and she did it again. Then I took her way wide to the outside."

Racing secretary P.J. Campo met with the riders and said afterwards that "they don't feel comfortable on it and we have to respect that."

It was the second cancellation this month at Aqueduct. The Nov. 3 card was called off because of high wind.

The canceled races will be brought back as extra races during the week. Aqueduct remained open for simulcasting and patrons got rain checks for admission, parking, and programs.