Heat loss

How do Saratogians beat the heat?

They don't do anything.

They don't shop; they don't line the sidewalks of Broadway like they would on cooler days; and, for the first time in as long as anyone can remember, they don't go to the races.

On Wednesday, faced with a triple-digit heat index, officials cancelled the nine-race card at the Saratoga Race Course. In a morning meeting with trainers, jockeys, the track veterinarian, stewards, the track superintendent and senior management, a unanimous decision was reached to call off the races.

The consensus in the room was to take the ultimate precaution and cancel the entire card for the safety of all participants, said Bill Nader, New York Racing Association's senior vice president, in a prepared statement Wednesday morning. "Racing will resume tomorrow and Friday's card will be expanded to a 10-race program."

The cancellation of Wednesday's entire card was the first in Saratoga's recorded history, according to NYRA spokesman Mark Bardack. On Aug. 7, 1986, the last four races of the card had to be cancelled due to thunder and lightning. Two years later, the last two races of the Aug. 28 card had to be cancelled because lightning struck a tree which then fell on the main track. On Sept. 2, 1998, the last two races of the meet were cancelled due to excessive wind and rain. This is the first time a race, let alone an entire card, has been cancelled due to excessive heat, Bardack said.

NYRA wasn't the only business in Saratoga that suffered due to the heat. Justin Mclagen is a clerk at the forebodingly named Hot Stuff condiment store on Phila Street.

"The heat never helps business," he said. The store's hottest sauce, The Source, coming in at a whopping 7.1 million Scoville units (your standard Tabasco sauce is only 2,140 Scoville units), sits on the shelf collecting dust. But Mclagen says even the store's less incendiary products, like barbecue sauces and honey mustard, haven't been touched.

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