Monmouth scraps six races amid heat; Haskell to run at night

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OCEANPORT, N.J. — With oppressive heat draining fans and causing concern about the horses, Monmouth Park canceled six races and pushed back its stakes races, including the $1 million Haskell Invitational, until early evening.

The announcement came after the track delayed the start of Saturday’s first race by almost 40 minutes and then re-evaluated its 14-race card shortly after the second race.

The National Weather Service said temperatures were expected to hit 95 degrees with heat index values reaching 106.

Animal rights activists protested outside the New Jersey Shore track before the scheduled post time at noon EDT. The six stakes races on the card will start at 6 p.m., with the Haskell at 8:05 p.m.

Maximum Security, who crossed finished first in the Kentucky Derby and then was disqualified, headlines the field of seven in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell.

No reason was given for the delay of the first race. After 27 minutes, the track announced the five remaining horses in the first race would be returning to the paddock and head to the gate shortly.

The first two races went off without incident. The horses were then hosed down on the track.