10/29/2012 2:46PM

Breeders' Cup: Hurricane Sandy plays havoc with flights


ARCADIA, Calif. - One plane carrying Breeders' Cup horses made it from New York to California on Monday, but a second plane was “highly unlikely” to take off on Tuesday morning as scheduled due to Hurricane Sandy, according to a representative of the equine air carrier Tex Sutton.

A Monday flight that brought horses from the barns of Billy Mott, Chad Brown, Mike Hushion and Shug McGaughey left Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., at around 2 a.m., eight hours earlier than scheduled. It stopped in Kentucky to pick up other horses and then came west, arriving in California around 7 a.m. local time.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Race-by-race coverage, video, early odds]

Horses that were scheduled to arrive here on Tuesday included Todd Pletcher’s quartet of Shanghai Bobby (Juvenile), Dreaming of Julia and Kauai Katie (Juvenile Fillies), and Turbulent Descent (Filly and Mare Sprint). That plane also was to bring Mucho Macho Man (Classic), Brilliant Speed (Classic), Belle of the Hall (Filly and Mare Sprint), Jersey Town (Dirt Mile), Not Abroad (Marathon) and Grace Hall (Ladies’ Classic) from New York. That flight was scheduled to stop in Louisville, Ky. to pick up Wise Dan (Mile ) and Fort Larned (Classic).

A Tex Sutton official said that a plane will be based in Lexington, Ky., by Monday night and a crew will be on stand-by to fly to New York whenever “a window of opportunity presents itself.” As of Monday, it had not been decided if that flight would leave from Newburgh or Albany.

The worst of Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit the New York area Monday night into Tuesday, likely canceling most or all travel and making it more likely that a flight will leave on Wednesday.

Horses based at Belmont were not permitted to train Monday morning as both the main and training tracks were closed due to the weather. As of 2:30 p.m. Monday a decision had not been made on whether the tracks would be open for training on Tuesday.

Paul F More than 1 year ago
they had plenty of warning.....no excuse to not get horses out..
Chantal Smithless More than 1 year ago
Any trainer who didn't get their horses out of these hard hit areas after a FULL WEEK of DAILY warnings of this impending storm is an idiot. There just isn't a nice way to say it. To think they might still get out on WEDNESDAY is just about as ridiculous.......................
Crickett Hoffman More than 1 year ago
The trainers were absolutely foolish. A week of warning and no one budged until Sunday. I wouldn't feel sorry for them if their horses miss the Breeder's Cup. And wouldn't they want an excuse to move such valuable animals out of the storm's path? It was sunny and warm at Santa Anita. No threatening weather. Why wouldn't they want their horses in such a pleasant place?
Arnulfo Gonzalez More than 1 year ago
i would feel sorry for the woners that pay the bills
Herb Wagner More than 1 year ago
Geeze, if these guys knew a week ago that this storm was coming they could have gotten thier horses out then. Oh wait thats right, thats all anybody has been talking about back there for at least a week. What the hell?
jedfro11 More than 1 year ago
Anymore questions about why they want the Breeders' Cup in California?
Barbara Livingston More than 1 year ago
Yes, jedfro11, because this 'perfect storm,' said to be the worst in 200 years, happens every single year at Belmont. I've only attended a few BCs here at Santa Anita but have spent days with eyes and lungs burning from acrid smoke in '93 and '03...and in '93, you could actually see the flames in the mountains in the background. In 2003, there was no 'background' - it was just smoke and haze. I'm not complaining - it was darned interesting and it's a gorgeous place. But there is no 'perfect place' for the BC (California also has potential for earthquakes, from what I've read). Bad luck (fires, for instance) or, dare I say, weather, can happen anywhere. Although probably few would agree with me, I actually like variety. I loved Lone Star, Arlington, Woodbine, etc. That used to be part of what the Breeders' Cup was all about.
Colette More than 1 year ago
You are right, Barbara. I had actually forgotten about the fires That is scary stuff, too. I would hate for the Breeder's Cup to be held every year or so in the same places. I have never been to any, as I know you have, but it great for the host tracks & when variety spreads that opportunity around. There really is no perfect "spot", in terms of locale. It is what it is & that is just that. None of us can change or stop what Mother Nature brings; be it earthquakes, hurricanes or wildfires. So, Mother Nature should not dictate where the Breeder's Cup is held. Do you think they ever will go back to giving the BC to more than a choice 1 or 2 tracks? Colette
Barbara Livingston More than 1 year ago
Hi Colette, I wonder about that...it might just be part of change, and the BC might just always be at the 2 venues from hereon out. That being said, Santa Anita is stunning, they prepare it beautifully, and the people here are super-nice. I do love coming here.... (even if I have a heck of a sunburn after a few days) ;-). A CA friend said to me a few days ago that the BC should never be anywhere in the east again, and 'Frankenstorm' was their proof. I just don't think something so rare it's called the 'biggest storm in hundreds of years' should be used as evidence of 'typical weather.' I hope you're able to get to a BC some day! They are great spectacles with excellent racing.
W.G. More than 1 year ago
Your point is well taken Barbara: These have just been two freak storms that have hit around the same time in as many years (we had the freak snowstorm on the same date last year). People who use that and the 2007 BC at Monmouth as "evidence" the BC should never be held in the east again are the more casual fan or perhaps celebrity who only wants to be where it's either warm (So. California) or can be in luxury like at Churchill Downs. To them, Belmont Park is a bit of a relic, and the Garden Terrace and Triple Crown Room are not sufficient to their liking. That's one of the problems NYRA has with getting the BC back to Belmont Park. Another problem is Belmont and/or Monmouth (or any other track) in my view WILL have to install lights for night racing if the Breeders' Cup is ever to be in the east again, why I can see starting in 2014 Churchill Downs becoming the near-permanent hosts of the BC unless another track capable of racing at night makes a serious bid for the Breeders' Cup (and Santa Anita may have to install lights just to keep the 2013 BC since if this year's BC Classic gets any pulse of a TV rating opposite Alabama-LSU on CBS and Oregon-USC on FOX, I suspect NBC will insist on lights at Santa Anita or the '13 BC moved elsewhere so they can have the BC take up all of Saturday prime time). I suspect we will be seeing full-bore night BCs starting in most likely 2014 because of how much the television landscape has changed just since NBC last had the BC in 2005.
laura ban More than 1 year ago
Nature happens - I was born and spent the early years of life in N.CA. - Talk about earthquakes! Don't forget about the landslides that could take out a neighborhood in one rainfall in Southern California. Wherever the B.C. is held there is the possibiliyy of foul weather. I would love to see it held in New York again - I would agree with you Barbara, Lone Star or Arlington would be fine places, I too liked the variety. ...... I hope you're enjoying the weather in California, This week it's supposed to be good!
AndrewD More than 1 year ago
The Breeders Cup would have already been run had it been held in New York.
Colette More than 1 year ago
The Tappan Zee Bridge, which the horses will need to cross in order to get upstate to either Newburgh ( Stewart Airport) or to Albany (Albany Airport) has just been closed for all traffic by the Gov. Two tractor trailer trucks have flipped, on the bridge, due to the wind in the past few hrs. The worst winds haven't even reached us yet. The wind is so scary now. I can't imagine what it will be like. All the other NY bridges, including the bridges the horses would need to cross just to get off Long Island, are being closed at 6pm. The winds associated with this storm are expected to be worse from Hurricane Irene & of longer duration but with less water. Instead of 10 or 11 inches of rain, we are only supposed to get 4 to 6 inches. .That, along with the full moon & the storm pushing the water onto shore, will affect the road that leads from Belmont to the Whitestone Bridge, Just before the Whitestone Bridge, coming from Long Island, which is where Belmont & Aqueduct both are, the highway is almost at shore level & runs right along the shore. I can't imagine that highway being passable. If the roadways are damaged because of water, the horses won't even be able to get off Long Island. It just strikes me as foolhardy to not get the horses out of NY before this storm struck. We all knew it was coming for days. Just putting the horses on a trailer truck trying to get to an airport is dangerous as it is the trailer trucks tha are most apt to flip with the wind.
John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
Some trainers didn't keep an eye on the weather.
W.G. More than 1 year ago
Actually, some trainers probably tried to get an earlier flight for their horses, but were unable to. These arrangements are made well ahead of time and NO ONE could have predicted we would have such a megastorm like Sandy pounding the east coast thanks to a blocking high up north and a polar jet stream coming down much earlier than usual. Very unfortunate, but this is a massive storm that is going to affect as much as half of the country by the time this storm is done with at the end of this week.
Mark Landau More than 1 year ago
David Grening: Helpful article, but could you tell us the horses that arrived in California on today's flight?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
How, oh how a Trainer's job has changed over the years... Good Luck and a safe trip to all.