LOUISVILLE, KY (Thursday, June 27, 2012) – Churchill Downs officials will adjust their post times and race exclusively in the evening for the final three days of its 138th Spring Meet due to looming near-record triple-digit heat in the forecast for Louisville. The first race on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be 6:30 p.m. (all times Eastern). On Tuesday evening it was decided that Thursday’s nine-race program would be cancelled because National Weather Service forecasters were calling for a high of 103 with a southwest wind of 5-15 mph and gusts up to 26 mph.

Revised Closing Week Schedule at Churchill Downs (June 28-July 1)

Day First Race Last Race Races
Thursday, June 28 Cancelled (originally 12:45 p.m.) Cancelled (originally 4:54 p.m.) Cancelled (9 races)
Friday, June 29 6:30 p.m. (originally 2:45 p.m.) 11:30 p.m. (originally 7:54 p.m.) 11 races
Saturday, June 30 6:30 p.m. (originally 6 p.m.) 11:40 p.m. (originally 6 p.m.) 11 races
Sunday, July 1 6:30 p.m. (originally 12:45 p.m.) 11:00 p.m. (originally 5:20 p.m.) 10 races

Track officials made the decision to adjust its closing weekend schedule following a meeting with National Weather Service forecasters on Wednesday afternoon.

“Given the record-setting heat expected throughout the closing weekend of our Spring Meet, we hope the shift of our Friday ‘Twilight Racing’ program and Sunday’s closing day racing program to nighttime programs is a solution that, given the forecast for extreme heat, is one that works for our horsemen and our racing fans,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “The installation of our permanent lights three years ago has allowed the flexibility to adapt to the extreme heat and develop a schedule that eases our most serious concerns about the safety of our equine and human athletes, meets the needs of our horsemen by preserving races scheduled for the meet’s final three days, and provides fans who wish to enjoy Churchill Downs racing – either on-track, online or at satellite wagering centers –the opportunity to do so.

“We regret that we will not be able to make up the races lost through the cancellation of Thursday’s racing during the final days of the Spring Meet, but our weather scenario deteriorated rapidly early in the week and we had to make a swift decision on the status of Thursday’s racing. Our team had a bit more time to focus on the meet’s final three days and we consulted with the National Weather Service to determine, as closely as possible, the hour-by-hour temperature scenario for the weekend. We will continue to take every possible precaution to guard against heat-related health issues over those three days, but we believe the night racing programs on Friday and Sunday will ease the threat of weather-related issues.”

The cancellation of races at Churchill Downs is extremely rare. Thursday’s cancellation was only the 18th documented weather-related cancellation in track history and the first related to extreme heat.