Races canceled at Churchill Downs due to cold temperatures - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Races canceled at Churchill Downs due to cold temperatures

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - An early start to winter has caused a cancellation of races at Churchill Downs, according to officials.

The main track at Churchill Downs is frozen due to recent inclement weather.

Wednesday races were canceled and training over the surface was canceled for Thursday morning. Maintenance workers will work around the clock to get the track in shape for Thursday's scheduled races.

“Hopefully it will thaw out enough where they can get on it Thursday,” pony person Candice Fires said.

Candice Fires says in the tracks current condition, racing would be unsafe for all involved -- both the horses and the jockeys.

“It is so hard that horses can break their legs,” Fires said. “It's just too hard for a horse to race on.”

It's not often that races are cancelled at Churchill Downs. A race was cancelled two years ago due to heat, but the last time it was cancelled due to a frozen racetrack was November of 1986.

The horses are now bundled up in stalls, waiting for racing to resume as work continues on the track's backside.

“Again we'll keep our fingers crossed and our team will be out there as the weather allows them to work,” track spokesperson John Asher said.

"Our top priority on any day at Churchill Downs is the health and safety of the human and equine participants in our sport, and current conditions and our short-term forecast has convinced us that it is in the best interests of all participants that we cancel the live racing program scheduled for Wednesday," said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. 

Flanery also said, "We're dealing with unusual weather conditions and the combination of moisture in our track with the rapid drop in temperatures and wind chill readings have resulted in a track surface that is unsafe for horses and humans, and there appears to be little chance of significant improvement until well into the day on Wednesday. Our track team has been and will continue to work on the surface to ensure it will be ready for racing on Thursday."

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