Updated on 09/16/2011 8:55AM

Track unsafe, Big A cancels


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Aqueduct canceled its Thursday card after jockeys told management the inner track was unsafe. It was the third cancellation this month.

The $100,000 Gravesend Handicap, originally carded for Thursday, will be re-drawn and run on Sunday as part of a 10-race card. Aqueduct, which has not run since last Saturday, will also conduct 10 races this Saturday and, most likely, on New Year's Day, too.

Despite a storm that dumped an inch of rain, an inch of sleet, and six inches of snow on Aqueduct on Wednesday, management was still hopeful it could run Thursday's card. But when the temperatures rose above freezing late Thursday morning, the inner track began to thaw and clumps of ice were spotted on several parts of the track.

"They're starting to lose the racetrack," said jockey Mike Luzzi, who walked the track with other riders and NYRA president Terry Meyocks.

Though disappointed they couldn't run their horses, several trainers backed the jockeys' decision not to ride.

"If it's not safe for the riders then it's not safe for the horses," said Phil Johnson, who was saddling Ellie's Quest for the opener and also walked the track. "I think they did the right thing."

- Philadelphia Park also canceled its card on Thursday after jockeys walked the track before the first race and decided it was unsafe. Racing was expected to resume on Friday.