Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson told the Toronto Sun that he anticipates racing will resume at the Ontario track in approximately six weeks.
“With the optimism that we all need to share, we anticipate that we are approximately six weeks away from resuming live racing (under the strict conditions being developed with the AGCO) if the Provincial Declaration of Emergency is lifted and parts of the economy are permitted to gradually re-open following government and health officials' guidelines,” Lawson told the Sun. “I will continue to provide updates in the coming weeks on how we are progressing towards this optimistic target.”
If able to open, Woodbine plans to run races without spectators.
Lawson also said the ban on horses having recorded workouts will be lifted Friday.
“There are approximately 1,100 Thoroughbreds stabled on the Woodbine backstretch,” he said. “We are operating with only essential staff and have strict protocols in place to help protect everyone. In an effort to keep more people safe at home during this period of lock down, we have not offered timed workouts, or starting gate work. However, as we prepare for the above optimistic timelines to return to live Thoroughbred racing sometime in June, we appreciate that horses need to be worked to be ready to race. To that end, starting on Friday, May 1, we are allowing trainers to breeze horses. Within a couple of weeks, we hope to add staff for timed workouts and starting gate operations.”
The Woodbine meet had been scheduled to begin Apr. 18. The Queen's Plate was originally scheduled to be run June 27, but Woodbine previously announced that the race has been postponed and will be run at a later date.