Drenching Rain Forces Races Off Turf At Del Mar For First Time In Three Years

by | 11.29.2018 | 5:38pm

A quarter-inch of rain drenched the track early Thursday morning and with forecasts for even stronger storms to hit 90 minutes to an hour before first post, track officials decided to close the main surface to training and move four races on the eight-race card from the turf to the main track.

“We just want to get ahead of this,” Racing Secretary David Jerkens said.

As usually happens when races are moved from the turf to the main track, there were several scratches. Four came out of the first and two from the third, both five-furlong sprints; five were withdrawn from the fifth and three from the seventh, both scheduled at one mile.

The last time Del Mar had to deal with weather conditions was Saturday, July 18, 2015, the third day of the summer meeting.

A severe lightning and thunder weather pattern that hit the track at 6:30 a.m. and came back with heavy rain in time for the 2 p.m. first post caught horsemen and track officials by surprise.

“When I got in here it was total chaos,” track superintendent Richard Tedesco said then. “Lightning, thunder and rain pouring down. We had to shut down the main track because of lightning in the area, that's a rule. And we shut down the training track as well.

“We missed about 45 minutes of training. But when they got back out on it the jockeys going past were all giving me a thumbs up. The track held up well . I'm proud of my crew for the job they did.”

When rains persisted, growing heavier as race time neared, the track was sealed and a decision was made to take three of the four scheduled grass races – the Grade I Eddie Read being the exception – off the turf and onto the main track.

The main track was listed as “sloppy” on Saturday, July 18, and “good” on Sunday, July 19.

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