07/05/2012 1:19PM

Delaware cancels Saturday card because of heat


The combination of temperatures expected to crest above 100 degrees and high humidity has caused one track in the Mid-Atlantic region to cancel its live racing card on Saturday and another to push back its first post time by one hour.

For the second straight Saturday, Delaware Park has called off its live racing because of a heat wave. The National Weather Service has predicted a high temperature of 101 degrees, with a heat index of up to 109, in the Wilmington, Del., area.

Dr. John Peters, chief veterinarian for the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, said racing under such conditions would pose substantial health risk to horses, riders, and participants.

The races scheduled for Saturday, including the Par Four overnight stakes for 2-year-olds, will be brought back as extra races and redrawn next week.

Racing is expected to resume Monday.

Penn National Race Course in central Pennsylvania will begin its racing programs on Friday and Saturday one hour later than usual at 7 p.m. Eastern.

“We did this last Saturday night, and the extra hour from our regular 6 p.m. post time helped,” said Mark Loewe, Penn National’s vice president of racing. “We will continue to monitor this on a daily basis in the best interests of the horses and jockeys.”

Lowe also said that Penn National will add a special Tuesday evening card on July 24 with first post time of 6 p.m.

W.G. More than 1 year ago
In addition, Penn National has already announced that post times on Friday and Saturday have already been moved back to 7:00 PM. Very smart move by Delaware Park, and even more so in light of the debacle last weekend at Churchill Downs where a lot of horses under-performed over the three cards that were at night, but started with temps still over 100 even at 6:30 in the evening. If I were at NYRA and Monmouth, I would look to postpone the big cards at Belmont and Monmouth from this Saturday to this coming Wednesday, in both cases doing so in tact when it will be much cooler and also doing so with special post times of 3:45 PM in the case of Belmont and 3:00 PM in the case of Monmouth Park. This coming Wednesday (July 11) also happens to be the day following Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, which is one of the slowest days of the entire year in sports. Re-scheduling one or both cards to Wednesday would in this case also have the side benefit of having the big races on a night when horse racing can have the national sports spotlight to itself when many people are looking for anything with no baseball that evening. The sport would likely gain considerable exposure from this simply because of it being such a slow sports night that the races would get far more coverage that evening then they would otherwise.