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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Gulfstream Park on lockdown as Florida feels the force

Tampa Bay Downs: the grandstand was boarded up as the hurricane moved through the area
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Racing at Gulfstream Park has been cancelled until Saturday after Hurricane Irma tore through the track in Florida.

Horses were evacuated from the Miami course as 6.5 million people were ordered to leave their homes in Florida because of the hurricane, which by Monday had claimed at least 37 lives in the Caribbean and another five in the US state.

Gulfstream Park officials said damage to the track and barns from Hurricane Irma was minimal, and the relief was summed up by trainer Kathy Mongeon, who said: “It looks like we got lucky.”

Mongeon, whose 300-mile drive north from Miami to Ocala to escape the worst of the storm took 12 hours, told the Racing Post on Monday: “There are big trees down here and there’s no electricity. We haven’t got off the farm.

"Someone took a picture of my barn at Gulfstream Park, which is one of the old barns that floods, and only the awning was down. My horses moved up to Palm Meadows, at Palm Beach, from Gulfstream and they’re fine.”

More cards lost

Cards on Wednesday and Thursday at Gulfstream Park, home of the Pegasus World Cup, have been cancelled to add to the four lost at the track last week in anticipation of the hurricane’s arrival.

Tampa Bay Downs racetrack on Florida’s west coast was shut on both Sunday and Monday, with grandstand windows boarded up, as Irma, downgraded to a category one hurricane, moved through, with storm surge warnings issued.

Winds earlier reached 142 miles per hour in southern Florida, while on the east coast north of Gulfstream Park ten inches of rain fell on Fort Pierce in four hours.

There are big trees out here and there's no electricity
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