12/30/2010 3:34PM

Sudden thaw forces Hawthorne to cancel Thursday program


STICKNEY, Ill. -- Hawthorne Race Course canceled its Thursday program before post time because of thawing conditions the track feared would be dangerous.

At 1 p.m. Central,  the temperature at nearby Midway airport was 43 degrees, by far the warmest day in December, with melting snow and ice leading to soggy conditions.

“The track’s thawing out, and we haven’t had enough time to float water out of it,” Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller said. “We thought it would be best to wait for tomorrow. When it’s 32 degrees it’s not a concern. When it’s 42, this is what happens.”

Friday is the final day of the fall-winter 2010 meeting. Miller said he was hopeful that the 11-race program could proceed as scheduled, though Friday’s high temperature is forecast to soar into the 50s.

“It looks like basically everything’s thawed out,” said Miller. “I’d say right now we should be fine to run tomorrow.”