By Dan Ross
For the “safety and well-being” of those living or working on site at Golden Gate Fields, the facility will continue its temporary suspension of live racing until the scheduled start of the impending winter meet on Dec. 26, according to a Golden Gate Fields press release Thursday.
Towards the end of last month, racing was suspended at Golden Gate after more than 200 people living or working on-site had tested positive for the virus. The current fall meet was scheduled to end on Dec. 13.
In a separate press release Thursday, the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) stated that there has been a “significant improvement in test results” at the facility. David Duggan, Golden Gate general manager and vice president,told the TDN that he was unable to provide a number as to how many positive cases there currently are at the facility.
According to Thursday's Golden Gate press release, “The track will continue testing until all tests are returned negative and will continue to collaborate and share all testing data with the Berkeley Public Health Division (BPHD).
“All positive cases are overseen by the BPHD or the neighboring public health departments, as appropriate, through their respective case managers. Positive cases are required to isolate as per local health protocols and are not able to return to Golden Gate Fields until health clearance has been provided by the BPHD or the corresponding public health department.”
When asked what the threshold is for the resumption of live racing, Duggan said that “we would like to see very clear evidence via testing that we are in a situation where we're almost exclusively negative.”
Representatives from the local public health department visited the facility earlier this week, Duggan confirmed. “They're learning quite a bit about the mechanics of the whole place,” he said. “We're working very closely with them and talking to them every single day.”
The TOC press release is as follows:
“Golden Gate Fields has been conducting COVID-19 testing of all backstretch workers as required by the health department. Testing to date has shown a significant improvement in test results. There will be continued testing of employees, and resumption of racing will be dependent upon success in the continued reduction or elimination of positive tests. Track management is continuing to work with local health authorities to insure a safe backstretch environment and a safe return to live racing.
“Morning training continues as usual. With regard to backstretch workers, the vast majority of those testing positive have returned to work, and most barns are working with full staffs. Owners with concerns about barn personnel are encouraged to reach out to their trainers for information about their particular situation. In your conversations with your trainers please stress the importance of every barn being 100% COVID compliant at all times,” the statement read.
“Until further notice, owners are not allowed to attend the morning workouts or afternoon racing. We will keep you updated as pertinent information becomes available.”