Quarantine Causes Assiniboia Downs Schedule Changes

Assiniboia Downs | Assiniboia Downs photo

A quarantine put in place at the barns at Assiniboia Downs following a case of equine virus has led to a schedule change at the Winnipeg track. Starting the week of July 15, racing will shift to a two-day Monday-Tuesday schedule until Aug. 12, after which the regular three-day Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday schedule will resume.

Following the identification and immediate containment of a single case of equine infectious anemia, the barns at Assiniboia Downs were placed under quarantine to prevent any further spread. The quarantine allows horses stabled at the track to continue racing, but it restricts any new horses from entering or leaving the barn area. This limitation will eventually strain the horse supply, prompting track officials to adjust the racing schedule in an effort to ensure that horses receive adequate rest between starts and that the average field size remains at the highest level for wagering.

“It is very unfortunate to have this happen, but we are very pleased it was addressed right away,” said Assiniboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn. “We realize that it is still an ongoing issue with the quarantine, but we are confident that there will not be any further cases after the entire horse population was freshly tested and all returned with negative results, indicating no additional cases. A second and final test of all horses in late July will lift the quarantine should the results remain negative. Regardless of how disruptive this is, the health and welfare of our equine athletes must come first. We appreciate the support and cooperation of our horse people and fans as we navigate through this.”

On Monday, the track announced the Manitoba Derby had been removed from the Western Canadian Derby Series due to the quarantine.

“The second and final coggins testing is currently scheduled for Monday, July 29 with results proposed to be released on Friday, August 2. Entry date for the $125,000 Manitoba Derby is Thursday, August 1. As there is not certainty to the results, date of release of that information, and the lifting of the current quarantine, it is only responsible to remove our race from the series this year and adjust the bonus opportunities,” Dunn said in the Monday release. “We are still hopeful that entries for the Manitoba Derby will be strong, but we have to acknowledge that in the unlikely scenario of another horse testing positive for EIA or any delay in the removal of the quarantine, that access to the backstretch for horses not already on the property will be denied.”

The dates removed from the current schedule will be added to the end of the season, with the final day of racing now set for Sept. 24.

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