The mid&#45;day decision by Monmouth Park on Saturday to cancel six races and delay the remainder of its card for five hours resulted in huge declines in handle on a day when high heat and humidity had already taken its toll on the gate.Handle for the eight races run Saturday was $8.56 million, according to the track, down 36 percent from last year&rsquo;s handle total of $13.4 million for the Haskell card, which was run on Sunday, July 29. The announced attendance was 25,173, down 32 percent from last year&rsquo;s Haskell.The handle and attendance figures declined amidst a weekend heat wave gripping most of the Midwest and East Coast that led many high&#45;profile tracks to cancel their Saturday cards, including Saratoga, Laurel, and Delaware. Monmouth announced that it was canceling the remainder of its non&#45;stakes races on the 14&#45;race Haskell card after running two races Saturday. The track also delayed the start of the remaining races on the card until 6 p.m. Eastern. The Haskell was initially scheduled to go to post at 5:47 p.m. and went off at 8:12.Haskell Day is typically Monmouth&rsquo;s most popular day at the races, both for attendance and handle. The track has been successful in the past at luring high&#45;profile Triple Crown runners to the race, and in 2015, 60,983 streamed through the gates to see Triple Crown winner American Pharoah run. The Haskell Day handle record was set that year, at $20 million.Despite high&#45;heat forecasts, Monmouth made a calculated gamble to run Saturday in the hopes that the cancellations in the region might draw everyday bettors to the track&rsquo;s simulcast signal. But the late announcement of the cancellation and delay appeared to take a heavy toll on the numbers.The track announced the changes &ldquo;in consultation&rdquo; with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, according to Monmouth officials. Monmouth had faced questions late in the week about its decision to run on Saturday due to the forecast and the decision by other tracks to cancel.&ldquo;He asked me to be in consultation with the state regulators, the vets, to make a decision that was consistent with the trust that&rsquo;s been placed in me,&rdquo; Dennis Drazin, the head of the company that manages the track, said after the decision, according to a New Jersey news site. &ldquo;So that&rsquo;s what we did. I think we could&rsquo;ve run safely. I don&rsquo;t think we would&rsquo;ve had any incidents. But God forbid we did.&rdquo;People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal&#45;rights organization that has been churning out criticism of the racing industry for the past four months, said in a statement Friday that &ldquo;if even one horse collapses, Monmouth officials should be held criminally liable for cruelty.&rdquo;Earlier this year, Murphy signed a bill granting Monmouth Park $10 million in purse subsidies this year.After the Saturday card was run, Monmouth canceled its Sunday card, citing the forecast for heat. The canceled Sunday races were rescheduled for Friday, while the Saturday races were re&#45;scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday cards this weekend.