Tracks to weather cancellations with new policy

January 12, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Representatives of track management and the jockeys' and horsemen's organizations developed a policy yesterday for handling weather-related cancellations at Maryland's thoroughbred tracks.

The move was prompted by problems at Laurel on Sunday. The jockeys said they thought the track was unsafe and voted to cancel after the second race. But the horsemen and management wanted to continue. Nine of 11 live races were canceled.

Under the new policy, when there is inclement weather, authorized representatives of all three groups will meet at 8 a.m. race day at Laurel to try to arrive at a consensus, said Laurel/Pimlico general manager John Mooney Jr.

Management will be represented by Mooney, vice president of racing Lenny Hale and track superintendent John Passero.

If chances are less than 50-50 that the weather will improve, the card will be canceled as soon as possible. If there is a chance the weather will get better, the representatives are to meet again at 10 a.m.

If conditions deteriorate after racing has begun, then all the representatives are to meet again, inspect the racing surface and discuss the situation.

If they reach an impasse, jockeys will be permitted to vote by ballot, with the majority ruling. If the jockeys vote for racing to continue, those who don't want to ride will be excused and substitutes found.

"This way the older, wealthier jockeys that don't want to ride don't have to and it gives the younger, hungrier riders an opportunity to compete on these marginal days," said Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association vice president Ferris Allen III.

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