01/20/2011 12:33PM

Oaklawn cancels due to weather

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Oaklawn Park has canceled its nine-race card for Thursday because of an expected winter storm and poor weather conditions north of nearby Little Rock, Ark.

The track was open for training on Thursday morning, but snow began to fall just after 10:30 a.m. Central. It was 36 degrees in Hot Springs early Thursday afternoon, with forecasters calling for temperatures to drop to 20 degrees overnight.

"In speaking with our track maintenance crew and horsemen, we felt that it was in the best interest of everyone involved to cancel today," said David Longinotti, assistant general manager for racing at Oaklawn. "Our track crew did a marvelous job last weekend and we are confident that by cancelling today, we can allow them the opportunity to stay ahead of the snow and freezing temperatures to help protect the track for this weekend’s racing.

"We also have to take into consideration the safety of our patrons, horsemen and employees when looking at the potential for unsafe driving conditions."

Oaklawn was forced to cancel its opening-day card last Friday because of freezing temperatures. The track was able to race on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The forecast for Friday is a high of 38 degrees.

Oaklawn will be open for simulcasting and gaming on Thursday.

Oaklawn lost four days of racing last year due to the weather.