Del Mar’s holiday weekend of racing became one day shorter Sunday when the track canceled its Thanksgiving Day card because of the forecast for heavy rain in the area Wednesday and Thursday.

Sunday’s announcement comes on the heels of last week’s cancellation on Thursday, the first for the track because of weather since it opened for business in 1937, as the industry puts added emphasis on horse and rider safety.

The Weather Channel’s forecast for the Del Mar area calls for an 80 to 100 percent chance of rain Wednesday through Friday afternoon. Rain is expected to taper off Friday night and partly cloudy skies are forecast for Saturday and Sunday’s closing day of the fall Bing Crosby meet.

Del Mar announced it will shift several of Thursday’s races, including the $100,000 Grade III Red Carpet Stakes, to expanded programs Saturday and Sunday. The track plans to resume racing Friday, but will offer only dirt racing that day. Friday’s scheduled stake, the $200,000 Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup, will be run Sunday.

“The weatherman is making it tough, but safety always comes first,” Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins said in a statement. “We are appreciative of the cooperation from our horsemen. We’re planning on putting on a good show Friday and following that with tremendous stakes-filled cards on both Saturday and Sunday.”

Track officials announced they worked with industry stakeholders, including the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Horse Racing Board, in the rescheduling of the final week of its sixth fall meet after Hollywood Park’s closure in December 2013.

“We’ve got horses and horsemen coming into town from back east for our big races and we want them to know that their races will be presented as planned under safe and proper conditions,” Robbins said.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s cards will include 10 races each day and first post will be moved to noon. Turf racing will be spotlighted those two days and there will be seven graded grass stakes run with purses totaling $1.3 million.

The centerpiece of the weekend’s Turf Festival will include a pair of $300,000 Grade I stakes — Saturday’s Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds at a mile and an eighth and the Matriarch Stakes on Sunday for fillies and mares at one mile.

Del Mar will be open for simulcast racing Thursday beginning at 9 a.m.

LA Daily News