With weather forecasts calling for near-record triple-digit heat, officials at Churchill Downs Racetrack have decided to cancel the track’s live racing program scheduled for Thursday, June 28.
The cancelled Thursday racing card included nine races with a scheduled post time of 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern). It was to have been the first of four racing programs set for the final week of the track’s Spring Meet, which will conclude on Sunday, July 1. Simulcast wagering on tracks from around North America will be offered at Trackside at Churchill in the track’s Clubhouse. Admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m.
With Thursday’s cancellation, Churchill Downs has three racing days remaining in its Spring Meet:
- Friday, June 29 – an 11-race twilight program with a post time of 2:45 p.m.;
- Saturday, Jun 30 – an 11-race “Downs After Dark” night racing program with 6 p.m. post;
- Sunday, July 1 – a “Closing Day” program for the 138th Spring Meet with 10 races scheduled.
Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said his track team consulted with National Weather Service forecasters before making its decision to cancel Thursday’s racing, and would continue to do so while assessing the status of the three remaining racing programs during what forecasters predict will be several days of extreme heat in the region.
“Our first priority on any day at Churchill Downs is the health and safety of the human and equine participants in our sport, and Thursday’s forecast called for a triple-digit, possible record-high temperature under an afternoon sun,” Flanery said. “We know how important these races and their purses are to our owners and trainers, but the health and safety issues convinced us this was the proper call for Thursday’s program.”
Weather-related cancellations of races at Churchill Downs are rare, but the ongoing Spring Meet is the second consecutive spring racing session to lose a day to weather issues. One day of racing was cancelled in 2011 after a tornado roared through the Churchill Downs stable area and damaged several barns on Wednesday, June 22. No horses or humans were injured by the tornado, but racing set for the following day was cancelled.
Churchill Downs will contact groups and individual patrons who had purchased seating for the racing program on Thursday to reschedule their visit.