Due to an overnight snowstorm, the first snowfall of any kind in New Orleans since 2004 and the worst in many more years, racing at Fair Grounds will not be conducted today, according to a text message reply from track Director of Publicity Lenny Vangilder at 10:30 a.m.
Those of you outside of the south who wonder why a little bit of snow--at most four inches and probably less around the track--would shut down racing need to understand what a rare occurrence this is around here. I've never seen a New Orleans snowfall like this in my lifetime and I'm 31 years old.
Cities down here don't have snow plows. Power is out in some pockets. Major interstates like 310 are closed, as well as several bridges, like the Huey P. Long, which crosses the Mississippi River.
About an hour ago, I drove a few miles to my office at the New Orleans Museum of Art, which is right by Fair Grounds. When I got to the Museum it turned out I was the only person there aside from the security staff. New Orleanians have no interest driving in this stuff. The roads are mostly just slushy, but news outlets are reporting ice causing problems in some areas. That news made me think of Ramon Flores, the well-liked Texas-based trainer who died in a van accident while transporting horses over icy roads near Houston in 2003.
Point is, even though the temperature is already rising and the track conditions might have been acceptable for racing, it is hard to see how all the people necessary to run a racing program could have safely gotten to the track today. Better for everyone to take the day off and wait for this to pass.