SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Two days before the opening of Saratoga Race Course, the water quality at the track was not at an acceptable level after routine tests were done, but a boil water order has since been lifted.
The Department of Health monitors the opening of the water distribution system at the Saratoga Race Track facility. As part of the routine opening of the water system, they require that a flushing of the water system takes place and water quality samples be taken.
Officials say results of the initial samples were not at an acceptable level and as a result the track continues to flush the system and submit additional water quality samples.
Along with the boil order, heat is also a concern at the track. Fans were running on full blast lined up outside nearly every horse stall at the Saratoga Race Course to keep the horses cool.
"It's warm, but look, we've had warm days here in the past," said New York Race Association President Christopher Kay.
He said the safety of everyone and every horse at the track is a top priority, and that they're ready for opening day.
"We are prepared for it, it's our intention to have a full day of racing," said Kay.
Since the track isn't open to the public just yet, the focus Wednesday was on the horses.
"We normally put water, cold water, with a sponge on the top of their heads, and then also water on the hearts," said stable hand Angel Guillen.
Stable hands like Guillen also feed the horses grass to keep to help regulate their temperature.
"It also cools them down," he said.
While the heat at the track kept workers paying very close attention to the horses, there was also a concern by officials at the Department of Health that the water might be unsafe to drink. So, it was shut off, a boil order was issued and people were advised not to drink any tap water.
"So, the thought was either get bottled water or to boil the water for the horses, and try to make sure that nothing would go wrong with that," said veterinarian Kristian Rhein.
Rhein, who helps take care of horses at the Saratoga Race Course, said even though the boil order issued by the Department of Health was a precautionary step, it was one he advised people to follow.
"No one wants to miss a race or have anything go wrong with the horses especially at this premier meet in Saratoga," said Rhein.
Officials at the track say the water issue was isolated to a very small section of the track, and the Department of Health announced Wednesday afternoon that they have lifted the boil order for the entire area.
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