The last time the New York Racing Association cancelled a card at Saratoga due to expected excessive heat was thirteen years ago. That streak is over. Saturday’s racing at Saratoga has been cancelled for just that reason.
Local forecasters are predicting the heat index will be near or over 100 degrees at times on Saturday, with extremely hot temperatures Friday throughout Sunday.
The last time an entire Saratoga racing card was canceled because of extreme heat was on August 2, 2006, when temperatures rose to the upper 90’s and the heat index measured as high as 110 degrees.
Saturday’s card has been moved to Sunday.
The State Gaming Commission’s Equine Medical Director Dr. Scott E. Palmer said; “This is a responsible and prudent decision that aligns with our New York Racetrack Heat Management Protocol designed to ensure safe racing for all participants.”
Said NYRA CEO & President Dave O’Rourke; “We are canceling Saturday’s card in the best interests of the safety of our equine athletes and horsemen.”
O’Rourke went on to say; “Assessing the safety of racing conditions, including weather, racing surfaces and race-day scrutiny, is of the utmost importance to NYRA and our industry partners.”
Saratoga is not the only east coast track to forgo racing on Saturday. Delaware Park, the Finger Lakes Racetrack, Parx (Philadelphia), and Laurel Park in Maryland have all cancelled racing for Saturday.
As of this writing Monmouth Park (New Jersey), which has the million dollar Haskill Stakes has yet to cancel its Saturday card.
The Daily Racing Blog hopes that the decision makers at Monmouth follow suit with the rest of the east coast tracks, and do right by the horses, and jockeys and cancel racing for Saturday.
Let’s all live to play another day.