08/13/2005 12:00AM

Monmouth riders balk in heat


Racing continued at Monmouth Park on Saturday despite the refusal of many leading jockeys to ride because of intense heat and humidity.

Horses were in the saddling paddock awaiting the 1:15 p.m. first post as the riders met with stewards and track officials.

Top-ranked jockeys Stewart Elliott, Chris DeCarlo, and Aaron Gryder took off their mounts.

"We felt it was unhealthy for the horses and riders," DeCarlo said.

Management eventually convinced enough riders to remain and complete the program, which began at 2:01 p.m.

Michael Baze won the first race aboard In Rare Form as the replacement for Chuck Lopez.

The defections triggered widespread rider changes and scratches on the 10-race card.

In the sweltering conditions, Monmouth eliminated the post parade and warmup. Horses went from the saddling enclosure right to the starting gate.