With temperatures predicted to hit 97 degrees — and humidity that could make it feel like 110 — Canterbury Park officials canceled Thursday evening’s race card, citing the health and safety of both horses and people.
After consulting Wednesday with state veterinarian Dr. Lynn Hovda, Canterbury president Randy Sampson decided it was best to be proactive. Racing will resume Friday with a 10-race card beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Hovda, who oversees the horses at Canterbury Park, said it is harder for a horse’s body to cool itself than it is for humans. That makes them vulnerable to heat stroke in the kind of weather predicted for Thursday. People who overexert themselves in the heat, such as jockeys, grooms and other workers, also could be at risk.
“If we were racing [Thursday], horses would lose 25 to 30 pounds just from sweat,” Hovda said. “And with the excess humidity and no wind, it keeps the perspiration from evaporating. It’s a very difficult decision to cancel racing, but it’s the safe thing to do.”
Thursday’s cancelation marks the second time Canterbury Park has scratched an entire card in advance because of extreme heat. The track plans to add an extra day of racing on Sept. 1 to make up for the lost races.