The great simulcasting experiment, intended to save New York horse racing from the ravages of winter weather by televising races from Florida, was foiled yesterday by winter weather.
The snow and ice storm that swept across the East Coast forced Aqueduct Race Track in Queens to cancel its inaugural program of seven live races plus the five that were scheduled to be imported from Gulfstream Park.
bTC Racing officials and stewards decided early on that the track was too slippery for jockeys and horses to run the live races and that the roads were too hazardous for the public to travel to the track to bet on the Florida races.
The day wasn't a total loss, however. Gulfstream, situated in Hallandale, just north of Miami, opened its 55th season on a chilly day under cloudy but passable skies, and exported its signal to receiving tracks around the country.
Douglas Donn, the president of the track, acknowledged its enhanced status as the leading exporter of winter racing in the East, and said: "We are beginning a great new era in Florida racing."
Gulfstream Park, which is owned by Orient Corp. of Japan, will run 11 live races on most days and will televise many of them to tracks and betting shops that form its booming simulcast audience.
The season will continue there until March 16, when many of the horses will migrate back north to Kentucky, Maryland and New York.