Racing at SunRay scrapped for second straight day

Steve Bortstein Special to The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — For the second consecutive day, racing at SunRay Park and Casino had to be scrapped as a result of unsatisfactory track conditions.

Director of Racing Lonnie Barber along with track superintendents and stewards appointed by the New Mexico Racing Commission made the decision shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday.

"There's still some water on the backstretch," Barber said via telephone Saturday evening. "We're going to let the track air out overnight and see where we stand before making a decision on (today's) racing program."

The cancellation of racing on both Friday and Saturday have marred what was to have been a strong closing weekend of the 2015 live season, which is set to conclude on Tuesday with the richest race for thoroughbreds, the $75,000 San Juan County Commissioner's Handicap.

Heavy rains, which drenched San Juan County earlier this week, caused damage across the region as well as at SunRay Park, which has had difficulty in getting the 6-furlong racetrack in satisfactory condition for both horsemen and track management.

It appears unlikely that either the Friday or Saturday cards will be redrawn or rescheduled. The Downs at Albuquerque is set to open for their live season next week, and many horsemen were using these final days of racing at SunRay to make preparations for that season.

"They (the Downs at Albuquerque) have trial races coming up and a few of the local horsemen made plans to be there," Barber said. "So we'd have to file (with the NM Racing Commission) for an extension of this racing season, so I don't see how these two days will be replaced."

Management will meet once again with stewards as well as horsemen this morning to determine the status of today's racing, which is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. first post.

Steve Bortstein hosts "First Sports" and "The Fast Track" on Fox Sports 1340 AM and 93.9 FM and on iHeartRadio. He serves as paddock show host at SunRay Park & Casino and is a voting member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Follow him @fox1340am on Twitter.