It might be a cliche', but it is absolutely the truth: the one thing you can never control is the weather. There was a massive winter storm that pounded the Southwest on Monday into Tuesday and it wreaked havoc with the racing schedule (including one near and dear to my heart).
Both Zia Park and my new home track, Turf Paradise, had to cancel their Tuesday programs for the poor weather in the area. Zia Park, in fact, cancelled the last two days of their 2009 season, including a shutdown on Monday. That is just unfortunate for Zia Park because you never want to see anyone anywhere have to close their season with back-to-back cancellations. Many racetracks plan nice ceremonies to honor horses, owners, trainers, and jockeys that have won season-ending awards on the last day of their season and it is a shame that Zia didn't get the proper chance to recognize their honorees with Winner's Circle presentations or whatever they might have had planned for them.
Turf Paradise ran yesterday over a sloppy track after the first wave of the storm passed through the Phoenix area on Monday. The second wave on Monday night and Tuesday morning caused the cancellation of the Tuesday program. Racing will resume on Friday afternoon at Turf Paradise and I certainly look forward to returning after an unscheduled day off.
One track, Hawthorne in Chicago, is bracing for the oncoming storm by cancelling both Wednesday and Thursday racing. The storm is expected to be a doozy by the time it hits the Big Shoulders, with heavy snowfall and 50-mph wind gusts. The track will be open for simulcasting both days, but they (like Zia and Turf) did the right thing by not racing since horrific weather conditions make for horrific track conditions (not to mention tremendous safety concerns for both riders and horses).
Tune in for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!