Track Reopenings

Pandemic Plans for Track Re-Openings Absent From NYSGC Meeting

The New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) teleconference meeting Tuesday resulted in the adoption of four new Thoroughbred-related rules and the proposal of two others. Even though it was the NYSGC's first meeting since the COVID-19 crisis halted the state's racing industry in March, the five commissioners who participated did not discuss the pandemic or any aspect of return-to-racing plans for New York tracks. The only time the coronavirus got an oblique mention was during the reading into the record of a proposed emergency rule regarding changing qualifying race requirements...

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A Strong Reopening for Santa Anita

Santa Anita was up and running Friday, the first time racing had been held at the Southern California racetrack since Mar. 22. All that was missing were fans in the stands. The card was strong, the handle was robust and it appeared that the many strict protocols put in place by Santa Anita didn't affect the racing. "We're, overall, really happy with how things went," said Aidan Butler, who heads the California racing operation for The Stronach Group. "It is so good to be back racing. From a logistics standpoint,...

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Oaklawn Owner Louis Cella Joins TDN Writers’ Room

On this week's episode of the TDN Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland, the writers were joined by Oaklawn Park owner and president Louis Cella to discuss the challenges and logistics of running a race meet in the coronavirus era. Oaklawn, along with Gulfstream and Tampa, have led the way for major tracks continuing operations uninterrupted through the pandemic, and Cella, as the Green Group Guest of the Week, talked about the advice they can impart as other ones start to reopen. "Some of the details that we've shared with other tracks:...

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Churchill Mainstay Foley, Derby Hopeful in Tow, Eager for Reopening

Few felt the jarring absence of the GI Kentucky Derby, or indeed any racing at all, on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs more acutely than a Louisville native. Add to that being a horseman who relies on the track's customary spring/summer meet to make your living, throw in having a Derby hopeful in your barn to boot, and one can understand why longtime Churchill-based trainer Greg Foley was so excited to be back home this week, with racing set to resume Saturday beneath the Twin Spires. "It's...

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Santa Anita To Take Entries Tuesday

Santa Anita has sent a text to local horsemen confirming that it will take entries Tuesday for the Friday, May 15 card. Due to the coronavirus, Santa Anita has been closed for racing since Mar. 27. Earlier this month, track officials announced their plans to reopen on the 15th and issued a new condition book and stakes schedule. The state has begun to lift restrictions on some businesses, including parks and golf courses and the county's "Safer-at-Home" order is set to expire Friday. But the track has yet to be...

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Indiana Horse Racing Commission Outlines Key Dates for Reopening of State’s Tracks

Fitting into a five-phase reopening plan for the state of Indiana outlined by its governor, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission has announced four major dates to pay attention to for the reopening of the state's racetracks. The dates are as follows: May 11--Essential travel restrictions are lifted (local non-essential travel allowed). Horses currently located in Indiana will be allowed to begin moving onto the backside of both racetracks. This applies only to those trainers with horses currently located in-state. Please contact Harrah's Hoosier Park or Indiana Grand's racing office to...

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NTRA Releases Best Practices for Safely Conducting Spectator-Free Racing

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance has released a document outlining best practices for North American racetracks determined to prioritize the health and safety of all participants and employees, when conducting live racing in a spectator-free environment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The document will assist racetracks that wish to resume live racing by establishing the safest public health environment possible, while also enabling gainful employment and economic activity at a time of uncertainty for so many. These best practices are based upon the most...

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Assiniboia Downs Cleared to Open May 25

Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg received provincial clearance Wednesday to open its live racing season May 25. "I'm confident we will be the first racetrack in Canada to open a live race," since the COVID-19 pandemic, the track's chief executive officer, Darren Dunn, told the CBC news outlet. Spectator-free racing will be conducted Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. CDT. The season had been slated to open May 10 but got pushed back because of pandemic precautions. The meet will run until Sep. 15. Health and temperature checks will be...

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