Maximum Security wins $1M Haskell; heat cancels Sunday's races at Monmouth Park

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Maximum Security captured the $1 million Haskell Invitational and, unlike the Kentucky Derby, survived a steward's inquiry Saturday night.

It capped a long day that included a major delay triggered by intense heat and the safety concerns for the horses and riders. It led to the cancellation of six races and the delay in six stakes, including the Haskell, the biggest race in Monmouth's meet.

The first two races of the Haskell Invitational ran but the chairman and CEO of Monmouth park decided to cancel all non-stakes races.

Some protesters were seen outside the race track, calling on the organizers to cancel the races. But some fans were not happy with the change of schedule.

"I'm a horse man--I have my own horses," said Dennis Drazin, chairman of Monmouth Race Track. "Horse safety comes first."

Track officials say they feel confident they could have gone on with the entire card but decided to make the changes after concerns from the public.

"We think that it was safe to go on and it would not have been an incident," said Drazin. "It was a lot of concern from the outside...a lot of people calling different legislators expressing concern."

With racing under pressure because of many horse deaths, most East Coast tracks on Friday canceled their Saturday cards, including Saratoga Race Course and Finger Lakes in New York and Laurel Park in Maryland.

Racetrack officials say both state and private veterinarians agreed the conditions were safe for the horses.

Monmouth Park says Sunday's races are off because of the heat. Anything canceled this weekend is set to be made up next weekend.

AP Wire Services were used in this report


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