The Preakness, of course, is Saturday in Baltimore. The weather, however, is not cooperating: Forecast calls for high 90s with a heat index well over 100. Will the race be canceled? Not on your life. This is, after all, one of Racing’s high holy days. Still, the weather is/will be a hot topic of conversation. Here are some thoughts (BloodHorse) from participants (no, not the horses, silly).

Saffie Joseph Jr., trainer of Skippylongstocking: “Hopefully that’s to our advantage. He’s accustomed to the heat and has run on very hot days. It’s common in Florida. We can use every break we can get on Saturday.”

Alessandro Sano, asst. trainer of Simplification: “He’s Florida born and bred. Ever since he was a baby, he’s been exposed to the sun and hot days. He ran on hot days at Gulfstream in the summer. He broke his maiden on a very hot day at Gulfstream, so he shouldn’t be bothered by it much. Running in those kind of temperatures is not ideal for anyone but at least having the knowledge that our horse has performed with success in that kind of weather before gives us a little more confidence.”

Wayne Lukas, trainer of Secret Oath: “We’ll have to see. She hasn’t raced in that kind of heat before, but we’ll try to get through it. It will be the same for everyone. It will affect all of our horses but I will say it can affect some more than others, especially those that let their adrenaline base get a little high. Depending on the humidity, it could impact the oxygen intake a bit.”

Chad Brown, trainer of Early Voting: “I can’t predict how it will affect Early Voting. It’s unfortunate, especially for the horses, to have such a prestigious race and big weekend for everyone and to have to deal with such oppressive conditions.”

Craig Fravel of track owner The Stronach Group: “We run into this situation at all of our tracks. We routinely run with temperatures like that in Florida and on occasion during the fall meet at Santa Anita Park we’ll have a day like that.”

Regarding the fans, Fravel added: “We’re going to check with all the proper authorities about back-up generators and the air conditioning. There will be plenty of water around and places for people to be in the shade. There will be plenty of room inside the building if they need to be inside rather than in the sun.”

Oppressive for the horses, comfortable for the humans – that about sums it up. In any event, Nicole and I, MD organizers Jennifer Sully and Peter Herrera, and a host of other HW activists will be there – most definitely and most proudly not in air-conditioned environs.

At Parx on September 6 of last year, True Upgrade fell in the 12th race. Here is what that looked like:

The then-five-year-old mare, however, did not die that day. So, of course, owner/trainer Bryant Taylor had her back on the track in November (in a $5K claiming race). Five more races followed, then True was sold prior to an April race; new people: Breezer Racing, Anthony Carango. Over those seven races (after the fall), True finished at or near the bottom each time, a combined 89 lengths back.

Then came yesterday, once again at Parx. It was her 51st turn under the whip (all, by the way, in Pennsylvania). As you will plainly see, the “acting-up” True had to be forcibly – almost violently – loaded into the gate. It’s a good bet that something was wrong, and it being her own body, she knew it. But instead of listening to her, the horse, the show went on, with this as the result shortly after the start: “True Upgrade suffered a catastrophic injury and was subsequently euthanized.” My disdain for this industry, and the people within, grows with each passing day.

Recent notes from the stewards at Keeneland. While reading, bear in mind that Keeneland is a top-5 track; imagine what goes on at the cheap ones.

Apr 15:
“The claim of Frolic More was voided when horse bled and was placed on Vet’s List.”

“Bedtime for Buffy was scratched on advice of Commission vet.”

Apr 16:
“Soros finished last and required assistance of vets. It was later reported that the horse had [suffered] a post-race heatstroke.”

“Violenza finished ninth and bled.”

“Shantisara returned lame and required the horse ambulance.”

Apr 20:
“Magic Tap was a late scratch on advice of Commission vet.” (was to be his first race)

“The claim of Beep Beep was voided when horse was placed on Vet’s List.”

“Invader finished last – returned lame and required the horse ambulance.”

Apr 23:
“Charge the Line was injured in the starting gate and was scratched.”

“Oaxaca suffered a heatstroke and required the horse ambulance.”

“Two Emmys suffered a post-race heatstroke and required vet.”

Apr 24:
“The claim of Fire On Time was voided when the horse was placed on Vet’s List.”

Apr 27:
“Izzy Em fell behind the starting gate and was scratched.”

Apr 28:
“Red Ghost was injured in the paddock and was scratched.”

Apr 29:
“The claim of American Tattoo was voided when horse was placed on Vet’s List.”

“The claim of Mejthaam was voided when horse bled and was placed on Vet’s List.”

“The claim of Sleepless Dream was voided when horse was placed on Vet’s List.”