Horse racing at Belmont Park was canceled on Thursday due to poor air quality from wildfires in Canada, and New York’s governor warned that the Belmont Stakes, the final Triple Crown contest, could be affected if conditions improve on Saturday. Not done.
It was the second day in a row that fires north of the border affected games in the northeastern United States. In Major League Baseball, a game in which the Washington Nationals were to host the Arizona Diamondbacks was postponed.
Meetings in New York and Philadelphia were postponed the day before.
New York Gov. Cathy Hochul said horse racing’s biggest event could be canceled if the air quality index exceeds 200 by Saturday. Such a measurement by the Environmental Protection Agency would indicate unhealthy conditions for all.
If the air quality is between 150 and 200 units, only horses that pass a veterinary exam will be allowed to race, said Hochul, a Democrat.
“There are people who come from all over the country,” Hochul said. “It’s a big deal for the local economy. And so…we hope to do it, but there’s no guarantee what the weather conditions will be like. So I’m sure it’s going to be a last-minute decision.”
Patrick McKenna, vice president of communications for the New York Horseracing Association, said in a statement that state officials and that organization discussed how to move forward in “shared efforts to provide the safest possible environment for training.”
Paula Creamer, the 2010 US Open champion golfer, was among several players wearing face masks during a pro-am tournament in Galloway, New Jersey. This Friday, the ShopRite LPGA Classic tournament begins.
He was also wearing dark glasses, as the smoke was burning his eyes.
“You can’t even see the horizon,” Creamer said. “It’s something pretty crazy. I don’t know that I’ve ever played a tournament where you have to worry about air pollution, except in the United States.”
In a statement, Major League Baseball announced that the game between the Diamondbacks and the Nationals has been postponed following discussions with medical and meteorological experts.
The teams “considered the wind conditions in Washington, D.C. to be clearly dangerous,” said Majors, who rescheduled the game for June 22.
About 20 minutes before the announcement, Washington’s Puerto Rican manager Dave Martinez said he had taken his dog for a morning walk.
“It wasn’t right,” he said. “We come back early… Things are getting worse.”
In the NFL, the New York Giants canceled practice on Thursday.
AP Writers Tom Canavan, Pat Eaton-Robb, Dan Galston and Patrick Stevens contributed to this report.