02/01/2007 12:00AM

Oaklawn cancels through Sunday


Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., has canceled its Thursday through Sunday programs because of winter weather that has left the track unsuitable for racing, officials announced early Thursday.

Racing is scheduled to resume on Thursday, Feb. 8.

Sleet hit Hot Springs on Wednesday night, and temperatures were in the 20s on Thursday morning. Despite crews working the track round the clock, Oaklawn was unable to open for training Monday, Wednesday or Thursday.

The lone stakes scheduled for the weekend, the $50,000 King Cotton, has been rescheduled for Friday, Feb. 9, according to Oaklawn racing secretary Pat Pope. There was also a $60,007 pick six carryover for Thursday, but that will be brought back on Feb. 8.

"We had a meeting with horsemen this morning and it was unanimous to close the track," said Eric Jackson, general manager of Oaklawn. "The horsemen have not been able to train much this week and the prospect of further wintry weather over the next day or so meant that it was unlikely we'd see any improvement in the surface before the weekend."

This is the second straight year Oaklawn has lost a weekend of racing to winter weather. The track lost President's Day weekend in February 2006.

Oaklawn will remain open for simulcasting and gaming on Thursday.