Track Closures

Report: Arlington Employees Receive Layoff Notices

According to a report in Chicago's Daily Herald newspaper, Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the owner of Arlington Park, has sent official notices to employees informing them they will be laid off 14 days after the final day of the meet, which is Sept. 25. CDI has not committed to racing beyond the end of this meet and has put the track up for sale. The layoff notices are a discouraging development after CDI applied for 2022 Illinois racing dates. A date request is not binding and does not have to...

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Woodbine Cancels Final Three Weeks of Meet Due to COVID Restrictions, Will Close After Sunday's Card

As a result of the Government of Ontario's announcement Friday that Toronto will be entering the Province's grey 'Lockdown' phase of coronavirus-related restrictions, Woodbine Entertainment announced that Sunday will be the last day in 2020 of Thoroughbred racing in the Province. "We have been, and continue to be, extremely supportive of the Government's efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout our Province and appreciate the many difficult decisions they have to make," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "We have approached the Government to explain the impacts this decision...

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Birmingham First Pari-Mutuel Venue to End Live Racing During Pandemic

Birmingham Race Course, a former Thoroughbred track in Alabama that has exclusively run greyhounds since 1995, has announced it will no longer be in the business of live racing, making it the first North American pari-mutuel venue to close in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report by the Associated Press, management wants the track to remain open for simulcasting and historical horse race gaming, which it launched last autumn. Birmingham last raced live Mar. 18, but the facility has been closed since then because of a...

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COVID-19 Trends Show Per-Capita Spikes in Several Racetrack Towns

A New York Times study published Tuesday reporting where the COVID-19 outbreak is peaking and waning based on per-capita population statistics shows that Grand Island, Nebraska, where Fonner Park is located, is currently second in the nation in terms of news cases reported in the last two weeks. Grand Island has a population of 85,000. The Times reported 764 coronavirus cases there in the last two weeks, meaning the per-thousand infection number is 8.98. Only Marion, Ohio, was higher (32.13) based on per-capita rankings. On Apr. 22, the Nebraska Racing...

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Gone Today, Here Tomorrow

The Week in Review, by T.D. Thornton The COVID-19 virus has quarantined this week's GI Kentucky Derby, which has been rescheduled for Sept. 5. The last time America's most famous horse race got pushed off its traditional first Saturday in May calendar spot was 1945, when the nation was embroiled in World War II. It's impossible to make accurate comparisons between a global conflict and a pandemic that are happening 75 years apart. But sifting through archived news clippings about how horse racing endured and eventually overcame that long, government-mandated...

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Thayer Calls Ongoing Shutdown of Racing in Kentucky 'Potentially Cataclysmic'

Damon Thayer, a former Breeders' Cup executive who is now the majority leader of the Kentucky Senate, continued to beat the drum Thursday for a return of racing in his state. In an interview with the TDN, he said he sees no practical reason why racing, without spectators in the stands, cannot resume within the next few weeks and warned that keeping the tracks closed indefinitely would create serious economic problems for the sport. "Staggering and potentially cataclysmic," he said when asked to predict the impact of racing in Kentucky...

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On a Day of Turmoil for Sport, NYRA, Oaklawn, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Announce Show Will Go On

On a day when racetracks around the world, including Keeneland, announced they would be shutting their doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak, NYRA, Oaklawn, Gulfstream and the Fair Grounds announced their intentions to continue racing. The decision by NYRA may have been the most surprising among the three as it came just hours after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban of gatherings of 50 people or more and that restaurants, bars, movie theaters and casinos must shut down. Aqueduct's next scheduled day of live racing is Friday. As...

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Monmouth Closing, Pushing Opening Day Back Three Weeks

Monmouth Park Racetrack will close for simulcasting and sports wagering beginning at 8 p.m. Monday, Mar. 16, as the State of New Jersey and the rest of the country continue to take proactive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Wagering will continue as normal on as well as online sports betting apps. In addition, based on the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control to limit public gatherings to fewer than 50 people, Monmouth Park will postpone its opening day originally scheduled for May 2, 2020 until...

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Indiana Grand, Hoosier Park Closing for 14 Days

Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, Indiana Grand Racing & Casino and Winner's Circle Race, Sports, Pub locations in Downtown Indianapolis, New Haven and Clarksville, Indiana will be closing for at least 14 days beginning at 6:00 a.m. Monday. parent company Caesars Entertainment announced. The Indiana Gaming and Indiana Horse Racing Commissions also announced that all licensed gaming and racing operations in Indiana will close at 6:00 a.m. Monday. "There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Caesars Entertainment's Indiana gaming and racing properties to date. This decision is...

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Churchill Simulcasting, Derby City Gaming Closing for 14 Days

Derby City Gaming, the Churchill Downs-owned casino in Louisville, as well as simulcasting at Churchill Downs itself, will close for 14 days in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced Sunday. In a statement released by Churchill, the company said, "In the best interest of our guests, employees and the community around us amid public health concerns regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, Derby City Gaming and Churchill Downs Racetrack simulcasting has made the difficult decision to voluntarily suspend operations, effective Sunday, Mar. 15 at midnight, for 14 days. There...

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