11/02/2007 11:00PM

Aqueduct cancels Saturday card

EmailSaturday's nine-race card at Aqueduct was canceled before it began as the jockeys refused to ride, citing the threat of dangerous wind gusts.

About an hour before the card began, the winds were 25 to 30 miles per hour with gusts occasionally surpassing 40 miles per hour. The forecast called for potentially stronger gusts later in the afternoon.

"It was pretty strong and it's supposed to get worse," said jockey John Velazquez, who is the president of the Jockeys' Guild. "The problem was we didn't want to start something and in the middle of the card cancel. It's safer not to start the card. Right now it's on the borderline where we might not finish the card."

According to Hal Handel, the New York Racing Association's executive vice president and chief operating officer, management attempted to accommodate the jockeys by agreeing to shorten up post times and limit post parades to five or six minutes.

"We tried to see what we could do this morning to accommodate them," Handel said. "We would really like it if they went out there and at least tried; they decided not to. At the end of the day it's their decision."

Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap will be rescheduled for next Sunday and will be open to original nominees. Entries will be taken Friday.

Aqueduct remained open for simulcasting, and rain checks for parking, admission and programs were available until 3 p.m.

Racing was scheduled to resume Sunday with post time reverting to 12:30 p.m.

* Suffolk Downs also canceled its card on Saturday due to high winds. Live racing was to resume there on Monday.