12/26/2008 12:00AM

Icy track causes Hawthorne to cancel

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Hawthorne Race Course was forced to cancel its Friday program, the second straight cancellation at the Chicago-area track.

Races were called off lsdy Sunday because of bitter cold, but Friday, jockeys declined to ride over a wet track surface that still was icy underneath, with little cushion between the layer of ice and the top of the track.

A group of riders walked the track some 20 minutes before post time, and the cancellation was announced at about 1:50 p.m. Central, 15 minutes after scheduled first post. This was the third full cancellation at the meet; parts of two other cards also have been lost because of conditions. Last season, Hawthorne lost two full and two partial programs.

Friday's cancellation was especially untimely, since Hawthorne has a pick six carryover of nearly $230,000 that has accumulated over 20 race days. Moreover, the weekend's races also could be in danger, with unseasonable warmth forecast to be accompanied by heavy rain and flooding.

- Marcus Hersh