01/14/2015 12:49PM

Frozen dirt on inner track forces Wednesday cancelation


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Live racing was canceled Wednesday at Aqueduct due to frozen clods of dirt on the inner track, New York Racing Association officials said.

It is the fourth full card that has been canceled in the last week. The final seven races of Friday’s card also were canceled.

Wednesday’s cancellation was announced less than an hour before first post.

According to management, there were frozen clods of dirt parsed throughout the inner track after a rainy Monday was followed by below-freezing temperatures Tuesday. Less than an hour before post, the temperature was 30 degrees. Temperatures were expected to rise above freezing during the afternoon.

“We could probably run two and a half hours from now but not now, and I’m going to err on the side of caution with everything that’s going on,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations.

Panza was referring to the fact that there have been 11 equine fatalities since the inner track opened Dec. 3. Eight of those were breakdowns, two came as the result of a spill, and another was the result of cardiovascular collapse.

An hour before post time, Glen Kozak, NYRA’s vice president of racing surfaces, could be seen picking up frozen clods of dirt as the maintenance crew continued to harrow and work on the track, readying it for the day’s scheduled nine-race program.

It rained here Monday and temperatures were in the low 20s Tuesday and overnight into Wednesday morning.

“We thought we were going to be OK, but it hasn’t warmed up as quickly as we thought it was going to,” Panza said. “We went out there a half an hour ago. The cushion is very nice, but you get some parts where there are some clods, and we can’t break them up quickly enough before these races start. We’re going to err on the side of caution. We need to be a little bit more protective.”

Panza said the forecast called for warmer temperatures this week, and he was hopeful Aqueduct would resume live racing Thursday.

Michael Jacob More than 1 year ago
Im glad they canceled. They had hushhushmushmush 3/5. I wouldnt play that horse if i found money in the street.
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Mr. Panza you did the right thing, please only race when you know its SAFE. Horses breaking down is just not right.
Donald More than 1 year ago
As much as i hate to say it ,if they cant get their act together,they should run til Xmas break then pack it til March,Lot of places for Jocks and trainers to run til then.Dont become a laughing stock like Fair Grounds.
Tony Bilotto More than 1 year ago
If we still covered racing in our NY papers (Post and News) we might be able to find out the real problem (shoddy track maintenance perhaps). Imagine if this was a rough winter...didn't hear if they closed the Racino as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
horses worked and trained all morning on the track and it was fine.how did it feeze as the day warmed up?
Larry Kaufman More than 1 year ago
what a failure this inner track is. how do laurel and parx run there full cards when nyra cant, resign mr toys r us and go back to the toy store
Matthew Hood More than 1 year ago
Oh the Irony! The only track in the country with a "winterized" track has more winter cancels than anybody. All the while their neighbor tracks are running just fine. If they think it's unsafe then don't run. This was botched big time though. 25 mins to post? People spend time and money and it takes you till noon to see you will not race? Panza said they surface would be OK later, so delay first start 1 1/2 hour and get everybody on the same page that between time is 15 min and not 25. That way you still finish at the same time.
Russell Rieckenberg More than 1 year ago
The only track in the country with a winterized track has more cancellations than anybody? I wasn't aware Turfway had that many cancellations.
mikey More than 1 year ago
The guy who o k ed the inner track must be on an island spending the money.Some winter track.Are they doing this so they can add days at the SPA or Belmont.Another great job by NYRA.Stop racing till April or May.
Rick Marciniak More than 1 year ago
Not sure what is worse? Hearing Aqueduct being cancelled or hearing Matt Carothers/Brittney Eurton squabble over why racing is cancelled. It is pretty cold out here in the northeast. Good call for the safety of horses and riders.
mikey More than 1 year ago
How can you listen to those idots.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Can't. Mute button my FRIEND!
Dan More than 1 year ago
Does the DRF give refunds for all these cancelled cards?
Rick Marciniak More than 1 year ago
Yes. Send email to cservice@drf.com with your login name and tell them its because of the Aqueduct Cancellation and they will credit your account with a drf card to use on any.
Dan More than 1 year ago
Glad to hear that they do this. Not the DRF's fault but who gives back the time you spent on handicapping the races?