Laurel: Jockeys’ ‘Concerns’ About Track Surface Led To Saturday’s Cancellations

by | 12.30.2017 | 4:42pm
Laurel Park in Maryland

Laurel Park canceled its final three races on Saturday's Christmastide Stakes Day program due to “deteriorating winter weather conditions,” according to a Maryland Jockey Club press release. The Racing Biz reports that the Laurel Park jockey colony had a significant impact on that cancellation decision after three different riders were dropped from their mounts in approximately the same spot after the wire.

Two horses went all the way down, though both were able to get up. The affected jockeys were Dana Whitney, J.D. Acosta and Julian Pimenel.

According to Laurel jockey Sheldon Russell, the jockeys convened after the seventh race and expressed their concern to MJC president Sal Sinatra. Sinatra then agreed to cancel the final three races on the card.

“We had some concerns about that same spot on the track right after the wire, especially after two other jockeys went down earlier in the day,” Russell said. “We definitely had some concerns. It seemed like we just lost the track in that one spot. There wasn't enough time between races to get the track ready. We're hoping that they can get the track correct so we can have it ready for tomorrow. Other than that we were having a great day. When something like that happens in the same spot three times in one day, it's something that has to be addressed. Julian went down and Dana went down in the last race and that's when we decided this has to be addressed.”

“As the day went on, conditions deteriorated and we felt it was in the best interests of everyone to cancel the remainder of the races,” Maryland Jockey Club President Sal Sinatra said.

Both the Thirty Eight Go Go for fillies and mares 3 and older and the $100,000 Dave's Friend for 3-year-olds and up will be brought back Friday, Jan. 5. Entries will be taken Sunday, Dec. 31.

Laurel's 62-day fall meet is scheduled to wrap up with an eight-race program Sunday, Dec. 31. The 2018 winter-spring meet is set to kick off Monday, Jan. 1.

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