COVID-19 pandemic

New York Race Track Chaplaincy Charity Basketball Game Canceled

The 13th annual jockeys-versus-horsemen charity basketball game, which benefits the programs of the New York Race Track Chaplaincy and was scheduled to be played Wednesday, Sept. 1, has been canceled. "With COVID-19 infection rates climbing again, we just couldn't jeopardize the safety of the participants or the hundreds of fans who come to the game each year, so we decided it was best to cancel it once again," said NY Race Track Chaplaincy executive director and lead chaplain Humberto Chavez. "We are all disappointed but hopefully we can resume the...

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Belmont Park Meet Generates $632,208,251

The Belmont Park spring/summer meet generated $632,208,251 in all-sources handle, a 20.6% increase over the 2019 spring/summer meet and 63.5% above the 2020 spring/summer meet, which was abbreviated to just 25 days because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spring/summer meet, which began Apr. 22 without spectators in attendance before reopening to a limited number of spectators May 1, boasted 59 stakes races worth $16.95 million in total purse money. Average daily handle over the 48 days of racing was $13,171,005, a 20.6% increase over 2019. The abbreviated 2020 spring/summer meet...

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'Quality' Over Quantity in Triple Crown Finale

ELMONT, NY -- What a difference a year makes. Back in its traditional spot on the calendar and 1 1/2-mile distance after the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world-and Triple Crown-completely upside down in 2020, Saturday's GI Belmont S. will feature a showdown between last year's champion 2-year-old colt Essential Quality (Tapit) and GI Preakness S. upsetter Rombauer (Twirling Candy). The Godolphin homebred was unstoppable in his first five career starts, headed by a win in the 2020 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Sent off as the 5-2 favorite in the GI...

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Three of Four Oregon Fairs Now a 'Go'

One of Oregon's four mixed-meet racing fairs has dropped out of the rotation for this summer. The manager of the Harney County Fair in Burns told the Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) May 20 the track won't be running July 24 and 25, but that the fair's management wants to improve its focus on racing so the meet can resume in 2022 after a two-year hiatus. Last year none of the Oregon fairs raced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state's lone commercial track, Grants Pass Downs, has been in action...

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Derby Day 147 Is Here!

LOUISVILLE, KY - Beautiful spring weather, enthusiastic racing fans dressed to impress and the GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. This, of course, wasn't the case last year, far from it, as the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down and forced both the GI Kentucky Oaks and Derby to be held spectator-free over Labor Day weekend. Masks, temperature checks and social distancing are more of the norm these days as limited crowds of between 40,000-50,000 (40-50% reserved seating, 60% premium dining areas and...

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Oaks Day Back Where It Belongs

LOUISVILLE, KY - Now, this is much more like it. With a forecast calling for sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s, the GI Kentucky Oaks returns to its traditional spot on the calendar Friday. While last year's delayed GI Kentucky Derby and Oaks were both conducted spectator-free over Labor Day weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, limited crowds of between 40,000-50,000--health and safety protocols in place and all-are expected to be on hand at Churchill Downs this weekend. Following the withdrawal of Ava's Grace (Laoban) earlier this week,...

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Wednesday's Trackside Derby Report

LOUISVILLE, KY - With the Churchill Downs backstretch and apron buzzing with socially distanced and mask-wearing fans, you could feel the excitement building during training hours on a steamy Wednesday morning. Cloudy skies and humid conditions greeted the GI Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders during the special, 15-minute training period beginning at 7:30 a.m. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert held court by the main gap and posed for a quick photo-op holding the lead shank of his overachieving $35,000 OBS July 2-year-old Medina Spirit (Protonico) as the main track was...

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Aqueduct Spring Meet Generates All-Sources Handle of $85,419,050

The boutique 11-day Aqueduct spring meet generated all-sources handle of $85,419,050, a 2.2% increase over the 2019 Aqueduct spring meet, the New York Racing Association, Inc. announced Tuesday. Average daily handle over the 11 days of live racing was $7,765,368, an 11.5% increase over 2019, when average daily handle over the 12 days of live racing was $6,964,947. The 2020 spring meet at Aqueduct Racetrack was canceled in its entirety due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with New York State guidelines instituted to mitigate the spread...

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Preakness Prep Federico Tesio Returns to Pimlico

For the first time since 2015, Maryland's local audition for the GI Preakness S. will provide horses with an opportunity to prep over the same Pimlico Race Course main track that serves as home for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. The $125,000 Federico Tesio S. headlines seven stakes worth $750,000 in purses on the Spring Stakes Spectacular program Saturday, Apr. 24, originally scheduled to be run at Laurel Park. With the ongoing evaluation of Laurel's main track, live racing has been shifted to Pimlico, effective Thursday, Apr. 22....

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Encouraging Reversal: All Oregon Fairs Now Expected to Race

The in-flux nature of racing at Oregon's summer fairs took an encouraging turn Thursday when Oregon Racing Commission (ORC) executive director Jack McGrail announced that all four stops on the circuit now intend to host mixed meets in 2021. That's an improvement from the update McGrail provided at the March ORC meeting, when the status of Eastern Oregon Livestock Show meet in Union and Harney County Fair in Burns were both considered to be in limbo because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those two fairs will join Crooked River Roundup...

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Dispersals Fuel January Market

by Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis Propelled by the strength of a pair of marquee dispersals, the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale churned out a powerful second session in Lexington Tuesday. Early in the day, Peter Brant's White Birch Farm purchased Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom) (hip 403) from the Lane's End consignment of the dispersal of the Estate of the late Paul Pompa, Jr. for $925,000. That bid was matched later in the session when Antony Beck's Gainesway Farm purchased Danceforthecause (Giant's Causeway) (hip 587) from the Sam-Son...

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Stabling in California Stabilized in “Stopgap” Funding Measures

Facing a reported $2-million budget deficit, the Southern California Stabling & Vanning Racing Committee has performed a fiscal juggling act to maintain the stabling status-quo in the southern portion of the state during 2021, with year-round auxiliary stabling assured for the year at Los Alamitos and San Luis Rey Downs, while off-site training will continue at Santa Anita during the Los Alamitos Thoroughbred and Del Mar Fall meets. Last year, the program--funded in equal parts by the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) purse account and the Southern California racetracks--cost approximately...

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