Monmouth Park cancels horse races due to excessive heat

Heat index at 106 degrees

By Amanda Jackson, CNN
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As a heatwave continues to blaze across a large part of the United States, Monmouth Park in New Jersey has canceled all horse races set for Sunday. (Karina Serio/Cal Sport Media/AP)

(CNN) - As a heat wave continues to blaze across a large part of the United States, Monmouth Park in New Jersey has canceled all horse races set for Sunday.

Eleven races, including the $75,000 Spruce Fir, were canceled due to the high temperatures. The park is in Oceanport, where CNN Weather put the heat index -- combining temperature and humidity -- at 106 degrees about noon Sunday. More than 95 million people were under a heat warning or advisory.

The Monmouth races add to the growing list of New York-area events that have been scrapped this weekend due to the heat. The New York City Triathlon and OZY fest, a festival to be held in Central Park, were also canceled.

On Saturday, Monmouth Park hosted the 52nd running of the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Invitational. Other races were pushed to later in the evening, while still others were canceled.

"We are grateful to the horsemen who participated today and to the fans who were treated to a spectacular race," said Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development, operators of Monmouth Park, in a statement Saturday.

"I am equally grateful to their dedication and resolve through a difficult time. As always, the safety of our horses and their riders remains paramount, and today's decision, as are all decisions, are rooted in that premise."

Maximum Security, owned by Gary and Mary West, won Saturday's Haskell Invitational. The horse made headlines in May when it was disqualified from the Kentucky Derby after crossing the finish line with a lead of 1¾ lengths. Country House was declared the winner.

The six canceled races from Saturday's card will be run as extra races July 27 and 28. Sunday's races are now set to run Friday.

CNN's Gene Norman, Madeline Holcombe and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.

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