02/03/2011 1:32PM

With temperatures below freezing, Oaklawn cancels Friday card


Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., has canceled Friday’s nine-race card due to a frozen racing surface. The decision comes a day after the track called off Thursday’s program. They are the third and fourth cancellations of the meet that opened Jan. 15.

More than three inches of rain fell in Hot Springs on Tuesday and subsequent freezing temperatures have kept the track from being open for training on both Wednesday and Thursday. It was in the high teens in the early morning hours Thursday in Hot Springs, and it is not expected to get above freezing until Friday.

“There were several factors that played into our decision to cancel for a second straight day, but the main reason is the frozen track,” said David Longinotti, assistant general manager of racing for Oaklawn. “We are going to make every effort to race Saturday and Sunday. However, we need to be able to protect our track for the entire racing season and maintain the safest racing surface possible.”

Officials had made the decision to call off Thursday’s card on Wednesday because track maintenance crews were unable to prepare the track for racing due to the combination of rain and freezing temperatures.

Oaklawn lost its season opener on Jan. 14 due to the weather, and was also forced to cancel its first Thursday card of the meet, on Jan. 20.