09/10/2009 11:00PM

Monmouth cancels in nasty weather


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Monmouth Park canceled its Friday card as high wind and heavy rain buffeted the Jersey Shore.

It was clear the card was in jeopardy early in the morning as a strong nor'easter blew threw the backstretch and the National Weather Service posted a tornado warning for central New Jersey.

The start of the first race was delayed 20 minutes to 1:10 p.m. in an effort to salvage the nine-race card. The first-race horses reported to the saddling paddock but the riders never emerged from the jockeys' room. The cancellation became official at approximately 1 p.m.

"As always, our primary concern is for the safety of our jockeys and the horses," said Bob Kulina, the track's vice president and general manager.

The handful of fans on hand received rain-check admission coupons, while track programs and Daily Racing Forms can be swapped for complimentary copies in the future.