Hurricane Hilary causes Del Mar and Los Alamitos to cancel Sunday’s races – Orange County Register

DEL MAR — Due to the high probability of torrential rain and high winds from Hurricane Hilary, Del Mar and Los Alamitos have canceled their Sunday racing cards.

It’s only the second cancellation because of weather in Del Mar’s 84-year history. The last was on Thanksgiving Day in 2019 because of a projected storm.

Los Alamitos, which races year-round, was forced to cancel four racing cards because of bad weather earlier this year – Jan. 14 and 15 and Feb. 25 and 26.

Forecasts called for up to three inches of rain from Saturday night through Monday morning.

“Unfortunately, the forecast calls for substantial rain and winds that appear to be headed our way,” Del Mar president and CEO Josh Rubinstein said in a statement. “We are hopeful this will only be a one-day thing for us, but it is a necessary step we feel we have to take.”

Del Mar’s lost date will not be made up, but the races scheduled for Sunday’s 10-race card will be distributed among upcoming cards over the remainder of the summer meet.

Los Alamitos owner Ed Allred said safety was the main factor in cancelling.

“We want everyone involved – horses, equine care professionals, fans and stuff – to be as safe as possible as this highly unusual storm approaches,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor Hurricane Hilary closely with safety remaining our main priority.”

The Los Alamitos Claiming Futurity and the Takin On The Cash Handicap, scheduled for Sunday, will be moved to Sunday, Aug. 27.

Trainers stabled at Del Mar have had to make plans since the possibility of the cancellation materalized.

“We’re going to move (the horses) that are outside up to San Luis Rey or we’ll move them inside,” Peter Miller told Del Mar publicity. “Basically we’re going to shift some horses around so we don’t have any horses outside when the rains come.”

Said Mike Puype: “I used a couple of Phil D’Amato’s stalls. They’ll find homes for all those horses. It won’t be a problem. The biggest problem is the blowing wind. The rain could blow into the shedrows or if the drains back up. In the old days they blocked up right away, but they’ve put better drainage in here over the years.”

The jockeys were 100% behind Del Mar’s decision.

“It’s a no brainer,” Kent Desormeaux said. “It’s the logical thing to do. I’m glad they made their decision early. That way these horses that were ready to run can breeze this morning. I’m sure horses that were supposed to run today will exercise now instead of staying in their stall.”

Trainer Craig Lewis said protecting the horses is the important thing.

“We’re just going to try to close down the hatches,” he said.

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