Cold at Laurel Park

Jockeys pose with hand warmers at Laurel Thursday.

From the Paulick Report
The temperature was 15 degrees when the horses left the Laurel Park starting gate at 12:30 p.m. and reached 19 at its peak but it didn’t stop 25 jockeys from riding Thursday afternoon.

Maryland Jockey Club general manager Sal Sinatra and racing secretary Georganne Hale met with veteran rider Sheldon Russell, the Jockey’s Guild representative in Maryland, after training ended at 10 a.m. to discuss the situation and worked out a scenario in which the riders took the horses straight from the paddock to the gate and unsaddled in the paddock instead of on the track.

“It was a good team effort to get it done today,” said Russell, who had mounts in five of the nine races. “All the riders were willing to give it a go. Georganne and Sal were very understanding of the situation. They allowed us to leave the jocks room with six minutes to post and go straight to the gate.”

Apprentice Michael Ritvo took it another step further by not wearing gloves on any of his four mounts.

“I have never seen that before,” added Russell. “I have to wear gloves. The hardest part on cold days like this is keeping your hands warm because we have to steer the horses and control them during the race. I still haven’t found a pair that helps keep my hands warm but the short post parades and hand warmers help.”

Temperatures are expected to rise into the 30’s Friday afternoon.