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Weather KO’s Final Four Races of Aug. 4 Saratoga Card

Severe thunderstorms which produced torrential rain forced the New York Racing Association to cancel the final four races of the 11-race card at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 4.

That included the 39th running of the $500,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2T), which was scheduled to be run at a mile on the inner turf course. That race, according to NYRA, will be rescheduled for Aug. 11. Entries will be drawn on Aug. 6.

Trainer Chad Brown had three of the eight horses who were set to run in the race. The race originally had 10 3-year-olds entered but two of them—Nagirroc , trained by Graham Motion, and Mysterious Night  from Charlie Appleby’s barn—scratched earlier in the day.

“This is the right move,” Brown said in the Saratoga paddock after conferring with Peter Brant, who co-owns Mischievous Angel  with Parkland Thoroughbreds. “The turf is going to be very soft. For a half-million dollars, I don’t think it’s fair to the horses and owners to run.”

Heavy rain had fallen in the Saratoga area overnight and that forced NYRA to move four of the six scheduled turf races to the main track.

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One turf race did get in—the $400,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational Stakes (G3T) , which was won by Elusive Princess  over the Mellon Turf Course which was labeled “soft.”

The skies opened up again around 4 p.m. With horses being saddled in the paddock for the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, track announcer Frank Mirahmadi informed the announced crowd of 26,245 that there would be a weather delay.

Saratoga Cancelled, August 4 2023<br>
Field for the Hall of Fame Stakes Exits
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher

The field for the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes exits the paddock after the race’s cancellation at Saratoga Race Course

Thunder and lightning strikes hit the Spa and the decision to call it a day came around 5:15 p.m.

According to Joe Villani, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Albany, Saratoga Race Course received a half-inch of rain between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

“It was definitely a downpour,” Villani said. 

Brown was also scheduled to saddle Klaravich Stables’ Appraise  and e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Carl Spackler .

He approved of the idea for the sake of the turf course for the rest of the meet, which still has 23 days remaining.

“Horses running on it could potentially do a ton of damage to it,” Brown said. “I am very much in agreement with the decision. The horses and owners deserve an even playing field to seek success in the race.”

According to Equibase, the last time a race was canceled at Saratoga was Sept. 2, 2020 when a steeplechase event was called off because of weather. A steeplechase race on Aug. 5 was also lost to weather conditions.

On July 25, 2019, the final seven races on an 11-race card were postponed because of heavy rain.

As a result of the Aug. 4 cancellation, all pools starting in the eighth race were refunded, including the two-day pick-6. Also, the pick-3 ending in the eighth race and double ending in the eighth had a consolation payout; the pick-4 ending in the eighth race was paid as a pick-3 with winners of races 5 through 7; the pick-5 ending in the eighth race was paid as a pick-4 on races 4 through 7 and the pick-6 starting in the sixth race and the pick-5 starting in the seventh were refunded.

One piece of good news. Villani from the National Weather Service said the forecast for Aug. 5 and Aug. 6 calls for temperatures in the low 80s with low humidity and no chance of rain.

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