In Oceanport, New Jersey, Monmouth Park plans to hold the Haskell 2019 race despite the warnings by the National Weather Service of excessive heat. Saturday’s weather forecast calls for temperatures reaching 95 degrees with a heat index of 106 degrees.
Both the Meadowlands and Yonkers Raceway have pushed back the starting times of their races. According to the Asbury Park Press, Dennis Drazin, the chairman and chief executive of Darby Development LLC, operators of the track, reported all decisions will be made at the last minute.
“It’s going to be a last-minute decision. We’re going to go through a few races and see how the horses are doing. We’ll have all of our precautions in place with spray misters and ice buckets and hoses, and if I have to move the races back so the Haskell is at 8 p.m., then that’s what we’ll do,” Drazin stated.
The first race is currently scheduled to begin at 12:04. The Haskell is scheduled to be televised and is set for 5:47 p.m. The race features Maximum Security, the horse who won the Kentucky Derby, but was disqualified for interference.
Drazine stated he has been in contact with state and private vets and will be keeping an eye on the heat index with the focus on humidity and wind. Post parades for the horses will be shortened. Ice and misting systems will be available in the paddock area for the horses prior to the race.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have called on track officials and the N.J. Racing Commission to cancel the race.
“… If even one horse collapses at Monmouth, officials should be held criminally liable for cruelty,” a statement released by the animal advocacy group stated.
Horse racing for Saturday has been canceled in Saratoga and Finger Lakes. Protocols in New York state if the heat index reaches 105, all “racetrack management should seek to cancel racing if local conditions for horses and riders/drivers.” Also canceled were races at in Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Maryland and Kentucky.
(Photo via Pixabay)
Updates to follow.
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