02/11/2011 2:40PM

Oaklawn cancels Friday as track can't be prepared in time

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The lingering affects of the five inches of snow that fell in Hot Springs, Ark., on Wednesday has led Oaklawn Park to call off Friday’s program. It is the eighth cancellation of the meet that opened on Jan. 15.

Oaklawn last raced on Jan. 30 and has now lost six consecutive programs.

“Our track crew has been working the track since early this morning, but because the temperatures are still hovering around freezing, the track just hasn’t responded the way we would want,” Oaklawn official David Longinotti said. “We are all eager to get back to racing, but safety must come first.”

The track has not opened for training since Wednesday. Maintenance crews harrowed the surface Friday morning, but there were still noticeable clods and some wet spots with an hour to post for the first race. At that point, track officials, horsemen, and stewards made the call to scrap the program. Oaklawn officials plan to race on Saturday.

Temperatures have improved in Hot Springs since Wednesday, as it was 35 degrees midday Friday.

Oaklawn has now lost eight of its first 18 race dates. The prior record for cancellations during a meet was six.

The track is adding races to its programs to make up for the lost cards. Oaklawn is open for simulcasting and gaming on Friday.