Del Mar has canceled racing on Thanksgiving in anticipation of bad weather. The track also canceled this past Thursday’s card in advance of rain that fell in the area for two days.
“The weatherman is making it tough, but safety always comes first,” said Tom Robbins, executive vice president of racing at Del Mar.
According to the Weather Channel, there is a 90% chance of rain on Wednesday and Thursday. The move also relieves the strain on a smaller-than-normal horse population making races easier to fill.
Weather was thought to be a contributing factor at Santa Anita earlier in the year when the track had a severe spike in racing and training deaths.
Del Mar, which did not have any racing fatalities in its seven-week summer meeting, lost three horses on its opening weekend of its 15-day, now 13-day, fall meeting.
Two of the horses died at the racetrack and a third, Princess Dorian, was operated on and survived for about a week before suffering laminitis, caused by unequal distribution of weight, and was euthanized.
This week’s move at Del Mar caused some changes in its stakes schedule. The $100,000 Red Carpet Stakes will be moved from Thursday to Saturday and the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup will be moved from Friday to Sunday. There will be no turf racing on Friday. The fall meeting, known for its turf racing, will now have seven races on the weekend and 10 races each day.
“We’ve got horses and horsemen coming into town from back east for our big races and we want them to know that their races will be presented as planned under safe and proper conditions,” Robbins said.
The track, which traditionally has a Thanksgiving brunch for patrons, will continue with that tradition and the meal will be available from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.