02/04/2015 10:18AM

Snow melt prompts Aqueduct to cancel Wednesday card


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Aqueduct canceled Wednesday’s live racing card due to concerns that warmer temperatures forecasted for the afternoon could create an uneven and unsafe inner track.

It was ninth cancellation of the winter.

Many of the cancellations have come due to extreme cold. Wednesday, the forecast for the afternoon was for temperatures near 40 degrees. While that sounds good, NYRA officials said there was plenty of moisture trapped at the base of the track that could melt and create a wet and potentially uneven surface.

NYRA officials have often acted on the side of caution as there have been 14 equine fatalities during the inner track meet.

Glen Kozak, NYRA’s vice president of racing surfaces, said he recommended to management that racing be canceled Wednesday.

“One of the concerns is starting to run and have the track deteriorate where we can’t manage it with the equipment,” Kozak said. “When it gets that wet and especially with the cold bottom on it you got to watch how the material reacts.”

Kozak said Aqueduct received four inches of snow Monday. While Kozak said the snow was cleared by 6:30 a.m. Monday, there was six-tenths of an inch of rain and five-one-hundredths of an inch of ice that fell throughout Monday followed by another two inches of snow Monday night.

The track was closed for training Monday, but was open Tuesday and again Wednesday. As the temperatures rose above freezing Wednesday morning, horses were coming off the track with more dirt and mud on their bandages than earlier in the morning.

”It looks great, sounds great this morning – another good racetrack to be on,” Kozak said. “With 40 degrees and sunshine it’s sometimes tough to control what the surface is going to be for racing.”

Kozak said maintenance crews would work on the track all Wednesday afternoon, attempting to get the moisture out of it. Kozak was confident that racing could resume Thursday.