04/03/2016 12:49PM

High winds cause Aqueduct to cancel Sunday card


Sunday’s nine-race card at Aqueduct was canceled due to safety concerns regarding high winds.

The announcement came approximately 25 minutes prior to first post.

Winds were forecasted at 26 miles per hour with gusts between 40-to-45 miles-per-hour throughout the afternoon. The National Weather Service had issued a high-wind advisory until 2 p.m. Management had pushed back first post from 1:20 to 1:35 p.m. and then was planning to speed up post times throughout the card.

But the high wind gusts were expected to linger beyond 2 p.m., according to Martin Panza, the senior vice president of racing operations for the New York Racing Association, who said it was management’s decision to cancel.

“We waited as long as we could. They said the winds would die down around 2 p.m. to acceptable levels but that was not happening quickly enough,” Panza said. “We’re still getting gusts in the 40-to-45 miles-per-hour range.

“We did talk to the riders, who were very good about what we were trying to do,” Panza added. “They didn’t have to make the choice. If they get hit by a wind gust of 40-to-45 miles-per-hour during a race it can cause a serious problem. We didn’t ask them to make the decision; NYRA  canceled.”

Sunday’s card included the Grade 3, $200,000 Top Flight Invitational, which drew a field of seven, but had scratched down to four. It will be brought back for next Sunday, Panza said.

Live racing at Aqueduct resumes Wednesday as this circuit returns to a five-day race week. The first turf race of the year is scheduled for the Wednesday card.