Haskell Invitational to proceed despite calls to postpone due to heat

Posted: Updated:
OCEANPORT -

The Haskell Invitational horse race is still on schedule for Saturday, despite calls from the public to postpone it due to excessive heat.

Temperatures in New Jersey are expected to feel as if they are over 110 degrees Saturday due to the humid conditions. Animal rights groups and many members of the general public are calling on Monmouth Park Racetrack officials to call off the race for the safety of the horses.

But despite the concern, Monmouth Park officials say that they are taking all the necessary precautions.

“We’ve raced in heat weather before, this is nothing new,” says racetrack chairman and CEO Dennis Drazin.

Drazin says that his first priority is the horses’ health and well-being.

"We’ve bought extra spray mist to cool them down. We have ice buckets, water pails, hoses that we can run on the horses,” he says.

Horse racing tracks along the east coast have canceled races Saturday due to the hot weather. But Drazin says that Monmouth Park’s unique location at the Jersey Shore means the conditions won’t be as bad.

“They’re inland venues. We’re on the ocean here. We have a cool breeze,” he says.

But a cool breeze may not be enough, according to some veterinarians. Dr. Adam Christman, co-chief of staff at Bricktown Veterinarian Hospital says that he is concerned for the horses.

"Excessive sweating, excessive panting. They could literally drop dead so quickly from that,” Christman says. “Their hearts can beat really fast, you can have something called tachycardia. Sometimes if they go to that extreme measure, it's so hard to bring that body temperature down in a nice and appropriate way."

Drazin says that if conditions reach unsafe temperatures, the track will be ready.

“The plan is really that if we ran into a problem with the heat tomorrow, we have the option of moving the race back …we could easily take the Haskell and some of the other races and move them back a couple hours,” he says.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the upper-90s through the weekend.

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