At Laurel, they're off, not racing Track cancels cards for yesterday, today

March 14, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

About 8 inches of snow blanketed Laurel Race Course by midmorning yesterday.

But telephone operator Bertie Knisley was still getting many calls wondering whether the track was going to race.

"Now those are what I call die-hard fans," general manager Jim Mango said.

Mango decided to cancel both weekend cards by 8 a.m. yesterday after conferring with track president Joe De Francis.

"We wanted to push to try to race on Sunday [today] because of the ACRS [American Championship Racing Series] stakes at Gulfstream Park," he said.

"But it was just impossible," he said.

A reduced crew of seven employees manned the phones in the racing office, lining up entries for Tuesday's card.

"There won't be a problem racing by then," Mango said.

The Tuesday program will comprise a mixture of races carried over from yesterday's and today's cards.

l,2 "The Tuesday races will be written back for Thursday and Friday as extras [to be used if needed]," racing secretary Tommy Baker said.

Roads in the barn area and other points of the plant were open, and horsemen experienced few difficulties taking care of their animals.

Just to be sure, trainer Greg Wilson slept Friday night in his tack room.

Wilson, who has seven horses, said: "Six of them are sick with the flu. It's sweeping the whole backstretch. Some outfits have just moved in from the south, and a number of 2-year-olds have also been coming in.

"More than likely, they brought it [the flu] with them," he said.

"That's why it has been extra hard to fill races lately and why the fields are so small."

Wilson said that, despite the blizzard, both of his grooms had reported to work.

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