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Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera coming to Saratoga Race Course

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Opening weekend festivities at Saratoga Race Course will feature an appearance by former New York Yankees star Mariano Rivera.

The New York Racing Association announced Wednesday it will honor Rivera July 12 with a ceremony in the winner’s circle in recognition of baseball’s all-time saves leader.

Fans will have an opportunity to meet the 13-time All-Star during a luncheon in the Paddock Tent. The event will feature a discussion session with Rivera, photo opportunities and an auction featuring his memorabilia.

Proceeds of the luncheon will benefit one of Rivera’s charities.

Rivera’s visit will come one week before he heads to Cooperstown for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame as the first unanimous selection in history.

Heat prompts NYRA to cancel racing Saturday at Saratoga

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The New York Racing Association has canceled Saturday’s card of racing at Saratoga Race Course due to excessive heat forecast for eastern New York.

The National Weather Service is predicting a heat index as high as 110 degrees. Training will be permitted Saturday on both the main track and Oklahoma training track in the normally cooler temperatures in the morning.

The last time an entire racing card was canceled at Saratoga because of extreme heat was Aug. 2, 2006, when temperatures rose to the upper 90s and the heat index measured as high as 110 degrees.

NYRA president Dave O’Rourke calls the move “of the utmost importance” to NYRA and its industry partners.

The sport has come under increased scrutiny with the deaths of 30 horses during the recent racing season at Santa Anita in Southern California.

Two horses killed at Del Mar in training collision

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DEL MAR, Calif. — Two horses have been killed in a collision at Del Mar during training on the second day of its 2019 season.

The track says the accident occurred Thursday morning when the horse Charge A Bunch threw rider Geovanni Franco, turned sharply and collided with Carson Valley.

Carson Valley’s rider, jockey Assael Espinoza, was taken to a hospital for evaluation but Franco was not injured.

Carson Valley’s trainer, Bob Baffert, says it was a freak accident beyond anyone’s control.

The Del Mar deaths follow 30 horse fatalities at the just-ended Santa Anita meet. Those deaths led to an array of new procedures intended to increase safety.