Friday, August 08, 2008
STORM SCRAPS 8 SPA RACES
A severe summer thunderstorm, complete with heavy rain, hail and lightning, washed out part of the main track at Saratoga Race Course, forcing the cancellation of racing after this afternoon’s second race.
Eight races were cancelled, including the $80,000 Waya for older fillies and mares at a mile and a half on the turf.
Patrons were given a two-part rain check for admission and program upon exiting the facility. Exchange of reserved seats will be granted for future dates, based on availability.
The track remained open for simulcasting.
After maintenance crews determined it would take more than an hour to repair the damage, stewards made the decision to cancel racing.
“Even after an hour, there was no guarantee that the track would be up to standard,” said NYRA President Charles E. Hayward, after track maintenance crews had to work on wash-out spots between the quarter-pole and the five-sixteenths pole. “The threat of more storms was real and we decided to cancel for the safety of the horses, the jockeys and the fans.”
On August 2, 2006, severe heat and humidity forced the cancellation of Saratoga’s entire nine-race card. That decision to cancel was also an historic one, marking the first time in memory that an entire Spa card was cancelled. Furthermore, it is believed to be the first time racing was cancelled here because of heat and humidity. There was a heat point index of 110 that day. Prior to that, records indicate that, since the advent of mutuels in 1940, no entire Saratoga card was cancelled.
On August 7, 1986, the last four races of a Saratoga race-day card were cancelled because of severe thunder and lightning. Two years later, on August 28, 1988, the last two races on the day’s card, including the John A. Morris Handicap were also cancelled. That day, a tree struck by lightning fell onto the main track
On September 2, 1998, the last two races of the meet were cancelled because of violent wind, rain and lightning.
The final race on Travers Day, August 28, 2004, was cancelled shortly after Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone won the meet’s biggest race by a two and a half lengths over stablemate The Cliff’s Edge.
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