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Coronavirus Horse Racing Track by Track Update - March 17, 2019
TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2020
by: Valerie Mellema
Tracks have been changing their policies and operations due to the latest recommendations by the CDC, which went from recommending no more than 250 people in a group to 10. The most important change however, may be the rescheduling of the Kentucky Derby.
Churchill Downs will make an official announcement today, but according to Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio, the Derby will be rescheduled to September 5th. The Kentucky Derby has endured many wars, societal disruptions and even The Great Depression. It has only been rescheduled outside of May once and those dates were April 29, 1901 and June 9, 1945. With this change and the announcement that one of the Derby prep-races has been canceled so far, the Sunland Derby, one must wonder about the rest of the prep races. And, what does that do to the other two legs of the Triple Crown as well as the Travers?
Sunday afternoon, the New Mexico Governor declared the final day of racing at Sunland Park, meaning that the Sunland Derby would be canceled. The Sunland Oaks was also cancelled.
Keeneland announced yesterday that it is canceling the entire spring meet.
Louisiana Downs announced that they will close the track and cancel the remaining two days of the 2020 Quarter Horse meet. The casino has been closed as well. Evangeline Downs has also cancelled racing and it’s casino operations. Additionally, they informed the horsemen that they must vacate the backside by Wednesday. Many of the horsemen just got their horses brought in over the weekend.
A state of emergency and a catastrophic health emergency was declared on March 5th in Maryland. The governor issued an order March 15th that all of the state’s racetracks, simulcast facilities and casinos would be closed. This means Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, Timonium Race Course, Fair Hill Races, Rosecroft Raceway and Ocean Downs are all closed.
The New York Racing Association announced it intends to offer live racing as scheduled at Aqueduct without fans. The winter meet at Aqueduct ends March 29th.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course announced yesterday that they will temporarily suspend racing in addition to all gaming operations. Parx racing is suspended for two weeks.
Fonner Park in Nebraska has closed until further notice as well at the request of the governor.
Miami Valley Raceway suspended operations and will continue live racing without fans.
Turf Paradise also suddenly closed without consulting the horsemen or with required approval of the racing regulators. Rillito Racetrack in Arizona is also closed.
Woodbine Entertainment announced Saturday that Woodbine Mohawk Park and Woodbine Racetrack would be closed to the general public for a minimum of two weeks. Live harness racing at Mohawk Park will continue as scheduled but without spectators and only licensed horsempeople, regulators and essential staff would be permitted in the facility. They plan to reopen the Thoroughbred season Saturday, April 18th.
Oaklawn is continuing to race without fans and has also closed its casino for two weeks effective Monday. Fair Grounds, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Mahoning Valley, Sam Houston, Santa Anita, Tampa Bay Downs, and Turfway Park are all racing without spectators. The Casino at Gulfstream Park will temporarily close to the public beginning yesterday and will remain closed until further notice.
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