02/10/2011 1:34PM

Oaklawn officials will try to resume racing Friday


The five inches of snow that fell in Hot Springs, Ark., on Wednesday forced Oaklawn Park to cancel its second straight morning of training Thursday, but track officials are attempting to resume racing Friday.

A rash of winter storms has forced Oaklawn to miss five consecutive race dates in the last week. The latest hit was Wednesday’s snowstorm, which led to the cancellation of Thursday’s card. In all, Oaklawn has lost seven of its first 17 race dates. Oaklawn has not raced since sunday, Jan. 30.

But there was a bit of the break in the weather on Thursday. Temperatures were in the low 20s and rising midday, with the sun out and melting some of the snow. It was expected to dip back into the low teens Thursday night, but get as high as 41 degrees on Friday.

“We’re going to make every effort to race Friday,” Oaklawn official David Longinotti said Thursday. “The snow is sitting on the track insulating the racing surface. It’s not frozen underneath the snow right now.

“Our strategy is to let the snow lay through tonight, blade the snow off the track tomorrow, and hopefully, find that the track is not frozen underneath.”

Longinotti said Oaklawn fully expects to be racing on Saturday and Sunday.

“There’s no doubt whatsoever about Saturday and Sunday,” he said, noting temperatures are forecast to be in the 50s.

Oaklawn will be adding races to its programs to make up for the lost cards. All of the track’s cancellations this meet have been weather-related, beginning with the loss of its season opener on Jan. 14. The cancellation of seven cards is a meet record for Oaklawn.