01/10/2015 8:41AM

Aqueduct cancels Saturday card


With New York facing another day of cold, Saturday’s live racing program at Aqueduct was canceled, the fourth straight day that all or part of a card was scrapped.

Saturday’s card included the $100,000 Busanda Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, a race that has been rescheduled for Friday. It will be re-drawn on Sunday.

Aqueduct and Belmont Park were to remain open for simulcasting Saturday and it was hoped that racing would resume on Sunday when temperatures were expected to be in the 30s.

Though no precipitation was forecast, the high temperature Saturday in the New York area was forecast to be only 21 degrees with wind chills in the single digits. Extreme cold was the reason why New York Racing Association officials canceled Wednesday and Thursday programs.

Racing was canceled Friday after the second race when winds were blowing snow from the infield into the faces of jockeys. Also, two horses broke down in the second race, one fatally, bringing to 11 the number of equine fatalities incurred in 20 cards of racing at Aqueduct since the inner track opened on Dec. 3. A second horse also was injured during the running of Friday’s second race, though not fatally.

The high rate of equine fatalities has perplexed and frustrated NYRA officials and horsemen. Though no one has expressed specific concerns with the inner track’s surface, horsemen were scheduled to meet with NYRA management Saturday morning to discuss the high rate of incidents at the meet.

In a statement released late Friday afternoon, trainer Rick Violette, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said: “Everything will be on the table, from finding an independent track surface expert to come in and examine the inner track to a thorough reexamination of every procedure and protocol in place before a horse leaves the starting gate.”

In addition to the two breakdowns during the races Friday afternoon, a horse suffered a fatal injury during training hours Friday morning over Aqueduct’s inner track. Channel of Love, a 3-year-old daughter of English Channel who raced three times in a 26-day period in December, fractured her right front leg while galloping and had to be euthanized, according to the New York State Gaming Commission’s Equine Breakdown, Death Injury and Incident database. She was trained by Randi Persaud.