Day At The Track

Yonkers cancels Friday Card after one race

04:12 PM 19 Dec 2020 NZDT
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Jordan Stratton
Jordan Stratton, the chairperson of the SOA of NY’s driver’s committee

YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers Raceway cancelled the remainder of the Friday night (Dec. 18) harness racing program after the first pari-mutuel race due to unsafe track conditions. 

The cancellation followed a snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow on the half-mile oval late Wednesday night (Dec. 16) into Thursday morning (Dec. 17). The storm also forced the cancellation of the entire Thursday night card. However, the track called off the Thursday card at 9:10 a.m., well before the scheduled 7:12 p.m. first post. Friday’s game-time cancellation followed dozens of horses, caretakers, trainers, and drivers shipping in at considerable expense.

Jordan Stratton, the chairperson of the SOA of NY’s driver’s committee and one of the track’s leading reinsman, commented that the surface was inconsistent. 

“Some spots were frozen solid. Others were deep and slushy,” Stratton said after driving even-money favorite Gunpowder in the first race. 

SOA of NY field representative Jimmy Marohn, Sr., who is responsible for communicating with the judges on behalf of the horsepeople, noted everyone was in agreement about cancelling as the track condition was deemed unraceable.

The loss of Friday’s card is significant as it was one of only four programs left on the 2020 season, which had already been drastically reduced due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The SOA of NY has recently called into question the competency of the track superintendent employed by Yonkers Raceway and the adequacy of the manpower being allocated and materials being used to maintain the racing surface.

“The situation is a mess and not conducive to a consistent, let alone safe, track surface,” SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo wrote in an opinion piece titled The Trackman Carousel in the organization’s Sept. 30, 2020 newsletter.

Live racing is scheduled to resume Saturday night (Dec. 19) with a 7:12 p.m. first post. 

By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY
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