09/26/2008 12:00AM

Belmont cancels Friday card


ELMONT, N.Y. - With two inches of rain having fallen overnight and with at least that much more forecasted for Friday along with high winds, Belmont Park canceled Friday's nine-race program. The cancellation comes one day before Saturday's five Grade 1 stakes, led by the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup featuring Curlin's bid to become North America's all-time leading money earner.

Further, the New York Racing Association has postponed a pair of Grade 3 turf stakes scheduled for Sunday that could have a major impact on next month's Breeders' Cup. The Pilgrim, for juvenile colts, and the Miss Grillo, for juvenile fillies, will now be carded for Wednesday. Both races, worth $150,000, were designated as Win and You're In races for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. If those races were to be moved to the dirt due to weather, the winners do not gain an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup.

The Grade 2, $250,000 Kelso Handicap will be run as scheduled Sunday on the Widener Turf.

"We've already had two inches of rain, we're supposed to get another at least two between the rest of the day today until, well, nobody knows when it's going to taper off," NYRA director of racing P.J. Campo said. "We feel we can get the two stakes [Flower Bowl and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic] in tomorrow and then Sunday we just don't think we can get the Kelso and the two baby races in. It's hard to get at least three in with that much rain."

Belmont's main track was sealed after the races Thursday and the inner part remained sealed during training hours Friday morning.

Belmont remained open for simulcasting Friday.