Coronavirus Fallout: No Spectators for Rebel Weekend at Oaklawn Park


The scene at Oaklawn Park Friday | Sarah Andrew

With escalating fears over the spread of coronavirus, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort has decided to run all races this weekend without on-site spectators, it was announced late Thursday evening. Saturday's card is headed by the $1-million GII Rebel S. for 3-year-olds.

Oaklawn President Louis Cella said, “We represent the sport of kings. As such, we will act in a similar fashion to other sports organizations throughout the country. The health and safety of our fans, horsemen, and team members have always been and will continue to be our top priorities.”

Following Sunday's program, Tampa Bay Downs will conduct Thoroughbred racing minus spectators for an indeterminate period due to ongoing concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

“Many factors enter into decisions of this magnitude, but our overriding concern is always the health and safety of our fans, our employees, our horsemen and the backstretch workers,” said Peter Berube, Tampa Bay Downs' Vice President-General Manager. “We will continue to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis while working with state and local officials, with the hope we can allow our loyal fans to return in the near future.”

Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Aqueduct, Turfway, Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, Fair Grounds and Sam Houston will also continue to race, but all will be closed to the public. Sunland Park announced Friday afternoon that it would hold the Sunland Derby and Sunland Oaks next Sunday, Mar. 22, but without spectators. The GII Louisiana Derby card slated for Mar. 21 will still be held, but with no crowds.

CHRB Meeting Canceled…

Based on recommendations from Governor Newsom's Office and California public health officials, it was announced that the California Horse Racing Board meeting scheduled for Mar. 19 at Cal Expo has been canceled.

TTA Cancels Roses to Ribbons Event, Postpones Awards Banquet, 2-Year-Old Sale Still Scheduled…

The Roses to Ribbons Old Fashioned Horse Fair, scheduled for Saturday, Mar. 14, at Sam Houston, has been cancelled. The Texas Thoroughbred Association hopes to hold another renewal of the event later this year at Lone Star Park. The event helps find new homes and careers for Thoroughbreds ready to leave the racetrack.

The TTA has also announced the postponement of its annual meeting and awards banquet, originally set for Saturday, Mar. 21, at Sam Houston.

The Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale is still scheduled Apr. 3 at Lone Star Park with the breeze show set for Apr. 1. The TTA will continue to monitor the situation and make an announcement should there be any changes.

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