11/23/2013 5:07PM

Zia Park cancels five-stakes card due to cold weather

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Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., canceled Saturday’s card after the first race due to unseasonably cold weather and canceled Sunday’s program featuring five stakes, including the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks. The stakes could be run Wednesday, but a Zia Park official said the track must first seek permission from the New Mexico Racing Commission.

Zia is expecting four inches of snow overnight, said Fred Hutton, the track’s director of racing and racing secretary. The card Sunday also included the $200,000 Zia Park Derby, led by Broadway Empire, and the $150,000 Zia Park Distance Championship, which drew Jaycito.

The card Saturday, which included the Grade 1, $150,000 Zia Park Quarter Horse Championship, was canceled after the riding colony was having trouble with the colder temperatures. There was freezing rain Saturday.

“Their concern is that it was just too cold,” Hutton said. “If you can’t feel your hands and you’re trying to negotiate the turns on a 1,200-pound horse … it’s a recipe for something to happen. We’re totally behind them. The [encouraging] thing was that it’s not the track surface [freezing]. The surface was in excellent shape.” 

It was 30 degrees in Hobbs on Saturday afternoon, with forecasters calling for the temperature to drop as low as 21, according to The Weather Channel.