02/09/2011 11:48AM

Snowstorm forces Thursday cancellation at Oaklawn


Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., has been forced to call off Thursday’s racing program due to a snowstorm that moved into the area Wednesday morning. It is the seventh cancellation of the meet that opened Jan. 15, which is a record for Oaklawn.

Forecasters were calling for up to 10 inches of snow across central Arkansas on Wednesday, with temperatures to drop into the low teens overnight. A winter blast last week forced Oaklawn to lose all four of its racing programs, from Feb. 3-6. Officials are confident the track will race this Saturday and Sunday as the temperatures are forecast to warm up considerably.

A decision on Friday’s card has not been made by the track. Entries for that program were being taken on Wednesday morning. Oaklawn, however, was unable to open for training Wednesday. The snow was accumulating quickly in the morning hours, and most school districts were closed in Arkansas.

Oaklawn has now lost seven of its first 17 dates because of inclement weather. The first card of the season was lost, as was the first Thursday program. The previous record for lost dates in a meet was six, in 2003, 1989, 1979 and 1960. Oaklawn, which lost four dates last year and ended up racing 50 cards, was originally scheduled to run 56 dates in 2011.

The track will be adding races to its upcoming programs to make up for the lost cards.

The meet continues through April 16.