Ellis Park has canceled live racing for Saturday's card out of precaution given the forecast for extreme heat in the Tri-State area. The track canceled today's (Friday) card yesterday. The track is optimistic that we can race Sunday.
Simulcast wagering on other tracks throughout the country and Ellis Park's Historical Horse Racing gaming operation will be held as scheduled today and tomorrow.
Friday's forecast calls for temperatures hitting 95 degrees, with humidity pushing the heat index into triple digits. Saturday could be even hotter.
“We're going to take every precaution,” Ellis Park general manager Jeff Hall said after Friday's cancelation. “When it comes to safety, we're walking the walking. It was important to get the word out early, because of horses shipping in, patrons who might be coming from a distance and with many of our jockeys living in the Louisville area or elsewhere out of town.”
What racing secretary Dan Bork said Friday applies to Saturday as well.
“The forecast is heat index looking up to upwards of 110 degrees,” Bork said Friday. “Consulting with our state veterinarians and other officials, we just thought it would be in the best interests of everybody to not go ahead and run tomorrow (Friday). Then we'll look ahead to Saturday and go on a day-by-day type of thing. It's just safer for everybody — for horses, for jockeys, for the fans. It's going to be an extreme day. Any time that number gets to 105 and above, we start taking a really close look.
“We did want to make this decision early. We could have waited until tomorrow but we decided to do it today. There are a lot of people who come (from out of town) whether it be horses or fans. We wanted to let them know early. Of course we will open for simulcasting and the historical horse racing room for gaming.”
People who had purchased reserved seating and dining for Saturday will be notified and have the option of rescheduling or getting a refund, track officials said.
“Any time you're racing in the middle of the summer in the Evansville/Henderson area, we know this (heat) is going to happen,” Bork said. “We're prepared for it, but when you get to this extreme, it's not worth it. Safety comes first. Running in the summer here, we know it's going to be hot. We've got water, we've got veterinarians. We've got staff for people and horses. But this case, with the prediction and what's going on, we're going to sit this one out.”
Meanwhile, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races has moved post time for the first race on both Friday and Saturday evening from its standard 7:00 P.M. EST start to 7:45 P.M.
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