Heat causes buzz on the backside at Ellis Park

Heat causes buzz on the backside at Ellis Park

HENDERSON, KY (WFIE) - The hottest day of the year shut down Ellis Park on Thursday.

Three-digit temperatures proved too much for everyone at the track forcing officials to call off six races in the afternoon.

Because of the cancellations, there was a constant buzz you could hear spreading across the Park's Stables.

Walk just a few feet down the main drag, and you can hear a roar of fans air conditioning the horses.

"I've been doing this for 30 something years," said Billy Walters Jr., a groomer from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Walters says the only time you'll catch him out in this Ohio Valley heat is when he's either attending to the horses or walking across campus from his dorm to get food at the kitchen.

"I work way back on the other side down all the way back there," he pointed to the south end of the backside, noting the kitchen is located on the far north end.

"It is a rough year. I stay in my room! If I am not at work, I'm in my room and in the air conditioning!"

The stables, much like the stands in the distance, were a ghost town.

"We made the decision after consulting with jockeys and veterinarians," said Racing Secretary Dan Bork. "Everyone was just too hot, and our limit is over 110 degrees," said Bork.

"It is hot," said Walter, one of the groomers. "I think they do the right thing, though, you know."

Racing resumes on the track at 12:15 to 6 Friday.

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