01/11/2014 4:20PM

Aqueduct: Saturday cancellation upsets some horsemen


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Horsemen were both surprised and upset when the final eight races of Saturday’s card at Aqueduct were canceled by the jockeys because of concerns over poor visibility due to fog.

After running the first race under foggy conditions – and over a sealed, sloppy track – the riders met prior to the start of the second race, though five of the seven horses in the paddock were tacked up. After a brief meeting, the riders informed the stewards that they did not want to ride the remainder of the card.

Officially, the stewards made the decision to cancel the card, but horsemen were upset that New York Racing Association management wasn’t contacted before the riders decided not to continue.

“Nobody is going to make them ride in unsafe conditions, but why not engage management to see if there weren’t other options available,” said trainer Rick Violette, head of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, who did not have any horses on the card.

Jeremiah Englehart, a trainer who had three horses to run, was very upset about the cancellation and said there should be more people involved in the decision.

“Five jockeys checked their tack [for race 2], and two didn’t,” said Englehart, noting that Jose Ortiz, the rider of his horse, and David Cohen were the two who didn’t. “No horsemen knew what was going on. The decision was made without informing management.”

The fog lifted shortly after the cancellation was announced but did roll back in around 2:15 p.m. Eastern and grew thicker over the next hour.
Jockey C.C.  Lopez, who finished sixth in the first race aboard Concealed, said poor visibility and issues with the wet track were his concerns.

“You can’t see too far in front of you while the track is barely acceptable,” Lopez said. “You got rain, you got fog; it’s difficult to get around there. I think the track surface could have been better or was not ideal to get around there.”

Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations, said NYRA was not going to force the jockeys to ride if they felt the conditions were not safe.

“The riders contacted the stewards and said due to poor visibility that there safety was at risk, and at that point, the stewards decided to call the card,” Panza said. “NYRA is always going to protect the safety of the jockeys.”

As a result of the cancellation, NYRA refunded the entire pick five pool of $227,473. In the daily double and pick three, those who successfully selected Physical Delivery ($22) received payouts of $21.40 and $19.60 as the remaining legs of those wagers were considered all-win.

The cancellation of Saturday’s final eight races came six days after a broken-down tractor forced the cancellation of the final race Jan. 5. The entire Jan. 3 card was canceled due to inclement weather.

Live racing is expected to resume Sunday with a nine-race card that includes the $100,000 Ruthless Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
funny how they are concerned for their safety because of fog.yet will purposely crowd another jockey into the fence or cut him off without remorse.half the accidents or more are due to careless riding and most of the others are due to drugs and pain killers given to unsound horses.fog is just a bad excuse to cancel and if they did not have casinos or simulcasting they would not have cancelled.
AthanB More than 1 year ago
Any reason as to why there wasn't a consolation for the P5? Seems unfair to the bettors that select the 11-1 that won the first race. Losers of the first still collected a refund...
Paul F More than 1 year ago
have to side with the jockeys no question
William Eisele More than 1 year ago
sorry, but it's never wrong "to let those that ride decide"
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
you are full of crap this is a scam.
Darrell Peck More than 1 year ago
of course its a scam, anyone with a brain knows that. This is how people like this make money, by scamming others.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
Im more concerned about the cancelling of the DRF with this plus nonsense. No point coming here except for entries.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
First two pages of "All News"" plus. Cripes!
Greg Scherr More than 1 year ago
the DRF+ has made me some good $$$ with info I wouldn't have had
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
Same info is free elsewhere
DeadHeat46 More than 1 year ago
What's next? "Tom Derkin can't see through the fog...we'll have to cancel." or... in honor of Sylvester (The Fog) Karamouche... "Thick Fog shuts down Louisiana racing...No more track records."
Bob More than 1 year ago
If they don't like it they can pack up their barn full of nags and head to Florida. The fact that they insist on racing in New York in January is absurd to begin with!
russell More than 1 year ago
Ann More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joseph Giambra More than 1 year ago
double ditto with a cherry on top. AND DRF PLUS IS FUELED BY GREED!!
Chuck Berger More than 1 year ago
The safety of the jockeys and most certainly the horses should be the major concern. The fan can well play other tracks where conditions are better for all concerned. For 98% of the fans, you saved your money not betting Aqueduct.
Justin Time More than 1 year ago
Joseph Giambra More than 1 year ago
I'll take the rest of the month off from NY racing and Stronach Racing. See you at Tampa Bay Downs.