07/09/2013 10:56AM

Woodbine backstretch deals with flooding; Tuesday training canceled

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Submitted photo
The tunnel leading to the Standardbred barn at Woodbine is flooded following Monday's heavy rain.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Woodbine’s backstretch was engulfed by 5 inches of rain in a storm that started late Monday afternoon and continued well into the evening.

Several barns were flooded, to varying degrees. The flooding was worse in barns where end doors and windows were left open and employees were unable to get to them due to flooding at the backstretch entrances.

The actual stalls were flooded in a number of barns, and matting and bedding was pulled out and tossed on the shed rows in an attempt to dry them.

The dirt training track was closed Tuesday due to its water-logged condition, and the Polytrack surface was inaccessible due to flooding in the tunnel that the horses use to gain entrance to the surface.

The Woodbine racing office announced that grass races scheduled for Wednesday night had been moved to the main track.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, located at the west end of the grandstand, on the first floor, was flooded, but Tom Cosgrove, co-chairman of the organization’s nomination and election committees, said there was no damage to the exhibits.

Last month, Woodbine was compromised by a mini-outbreak of the equine herpesvirus that shut down one barn completely for 10 days beginning June 11 and prevented horses from shipping out until June 26.

One trainer, surveying the situation here Monday, said “First the plague, now the floods – what’s next?”

Monday’s rainfall was the highest officially recorded in Toronto’s history, surpassing even the amount measured when Hurricane Hazel lashed the Greater Toronto Area in 1954.

Monday’s rains also followed the 1.6 inches of rain that fell late Sunday afternoon and caused Woodbine’s Highlander Stakes to be moved from the turf to the Polytrack on short notice.

More rain, although of a lighter variety, had already fallen Tuesday morning and even more was expected later in the day.