Minimum Purses Lowered for Non-Listed Stakes for 2020

The North American International Cataloguing Standards Committee voted May 21 to lower the minimum purse requirement for existing non-listed black-type races by 20% for the remainder of 2020. Because of the impact of COVID-19 on live race meets and casino operations that support purse funds, the NAICSC lowered the minimum purse for non-listed black-type races that ran prior to 2019 from $50,000 to $40,000 for the remainder of 2020, and the minimum purse value for non-listed black-type races that ran for the first time in 2019 will be reduced from $75,000 to $60,000 for their second running in 2020.

Requests to receive black type for any new races will continue to be reviewed by a subcommittee of NAICSC and require a minimum purse of $75,000. These changes provide racetracks with some flexibility in continuing to offer their black-type stakes without either putting a race’s black-type status at risk or forcing them to not offer a race at all.

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LTBA to Resume Regular Hours Beginning Tuesday, May 26

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association is resuming regular office hours. Staff will be at the Fair Grounds office from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. to handle all LTBA business.

For the safety of our members as well as our staff, the door will remain locked. The vast majority of any LTBA business can be handled by phone or over the internet.

We ask that anyone needing to come into the office to complete LTBA business, please call first. 504-947-4676. In the effort to practice safe “social distancing” and reduce potential COVID-19 exposure, our staff will be working on a rotational basis. A phone call will insure that the person you need to see will be in.

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Texas Governor’s Order Allows Simulcasting, Live Racing With Fans To Begin May 22

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order no. GA-23, issued this Monday, will allow for the reopening of the state’s simulcast racing on May 22. The order, relating to the expanded opening of Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster, states that facilities may “operate at up to 25 percent of the total sited occupancy of the establishment.”

At 9 p.m. ET Monday, Lone Star Park has not made an official announcement regarding whether or not it is prepared to begin live racing on the 22nd, this coming Friday.

Executive Order No. GA-23, reads, in part:

“Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020, for all Texas counties except Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter, and Randall counties:

D. Bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcast racing to the extent authorized by state law, and skating rinks that operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment; provided, however, that (i) bowling alleys must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating lanes; and (ii) components of the establishments that have video arcades must remain closed.
E. Rodeos and equestrian events that operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy or, for outdoor areas, at up to 25 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the facility owner; provided, however, that this authorizes only the rodeo or equestrian event and not larger gatherings, such as county fairs, in which such an event may be held.”

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Boyd Gaming Commences Property Reopening Process

Properties in Louisiana, Mississippi to Resume Operations This Week

LAS VEGAS, May 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE: BYD) today announced plans to resume operations at seven properties in Louisiana and Mississippi, pending receipt of final regulatory approvals.

On Wednesday, May 20, Boyd Gaming plans to reopen three Louisiana properties: Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel and Treasure Chest Casino.  On Thursday, May 21, the Company will reopen its two Mississippi properties: IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi and Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Tunica.

The following week, Boyd Gaming plans to resume operations at two additional properties in Louisiana: Amelia Belle Casino and Sam’s Town Shreveport.

These will be the first Boyd Gaming properties to reopen following the closure of all Company properties nationwide in mid-March, following state mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.  Upon reopening, the properties will operate with limited amenities and capacity restrictions in compliance with state and local requirements.

“As we begin the process of reopening our properties nationwide, the health and safety of our customers, our team members and our communities will be our highest priority,” said Keith Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming.  “Across the country, we are implementing comprehensive safety protocols approved by local, state and federal health officials. We are optimistic that we will be able to reopen most of our properties over the next several weeks, and we look forward to offering our guests a safe and enjoyable entertainment experience.”

Upon reopening, all Boyd Gaming properties will practice “Boyd Clean,” a set of comprehensive protocols aimed at protecting the health and safety of our team members and guests.  These protocols include:

  • Mandatory face coverings and temperature checks for all team members;
  • Social distancing requirements and capacity restrictions across all customer and team member areas, including casino floors and restaurants;
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitation of all high-touch surfaces, including door handles, gaming machines, table games, handrails and elevator buttons;
  • Increased placement of hand sanitizer dispensers throughout our properties;
  • Required training for all team members on our safety protocols.

For additional information on the Boyd Clean initiative, visit www.boydgaming.com.

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Boyd Gaming Applies for Evangeline Downs Race Dates

Company requested 50 dates for delayed Thoroughbred meet.

Fifty dates for Thoroughbred racing at Evangeline Downs have been requested by track owner Boyd Gaming, the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association announced May 15.

The Opelousas, La., racecourse was originally set to open for its Thoroughbred season April 8 and race through Aug. 29, but the track has remained closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised schedule submitted to the Louisiana State Racing Commission lists June 5 as the new opening date, with racing four days a week on a Wednesday-through-Saturday basis. Closing day would remain the same.

Boyd Gaming management applied for 14 days of Thoroughbred racing in June, 19 days in July, and 17 days in August at Evangeline.

May 16 marked the first day horses stabled outside Evangeline Downs and Delta Downs were welcomed back through the stable gates at the two tracks. Since mid-March, no new horses were allowed to enter the racetracks. The horses already stabled there were allowed to remain in place after Boyd Gaming reversed course after originally telling horsemen March 16 they had 48 hours to vacate the premises. Horses resumed training April 13 for the first time since the lockdown after Louisiana District Court judge Sharon Wilson on April 9 dissolved a temporary restraining order obtained by Boyd Gaming that resulted in no racehorse training.

“We’ve had some positive steps in the last month,” said Benard Chatters, the president of the Louisiana HBPA and a trainer at Evangeline Downs. “We were able to get the horses back training, and then today we were able to bring some of the horses back to the racetrack that had been locked out. The regular workout people were back, the outriders were back, and it was a really joyous and refreshing day for me.”

Chatters, who was at Evangeline on Saturday morning, said people were eager to get their horses back to the racetrack, including trainers who ship their horses in for workouts on the track.

Racing has not taken place in Louisiana since Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots ended its meet about a week early March 21.

 

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How to reopen your barn following the COVID19 quarantine

American Horse Council publishes
Resources for Horse Owners
https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#horse-owners

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for a complete shift in the daily lifestyle of everyone in the United States, including our horses. Living under quarantine, curfews, and learning how to work from home has reiterated how important barn visits are to mental health. As states across the country relax stay-at-home requirements, we have some tips on how to keep your horses, horse people, and your barn as healthy as possible.

  • Limit gatherings to as few people as possible, and continue to maintain the recommended social distancing protocols that include six (6) feet of separation between individuals. Just because the quarantine is being lifted doesn’t mean the threat is over.  COVID-19 can be detected in the air for up to 3 hours after being transmitted. Some stables have created a schedule where clients can reserve time slots for their visits, reducing the amount of people in the barn by only allowing 3-4 people present at once. This may be the most appropriate step forward for those barns in states that were forced to close outright.
  • Encourage proper hand-washing and provide as many locations/opportunities for people to do so. Due to the structure of the virus, washing hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to prevent contamination. Hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective.
  • Make a daily or hourly cleaning chart to prevent virus transmission. Disinfect common contact areas regularly and avoid sharing equipment and supplies between people, COVID-19 can live on copper for up to four hours, cardboard for 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days.
    • Non-porous materials (leather bridles/saddles/halters, nylon halters/lead ropes, gate latches, door handles, spray nozzle) harbor the virus longer than porous materials (cotton lead ropes, saddle pads)
    • Clean communal leather tack daily with tack cleaner. Knowing how to properly disinfect tack is useful for any equestrian, be it for strangles or COVID-19. Aerosol sprays such as Lysol tend to strip leather of oils, so if you use an aerosol spray to disinfect your tack, be sure to let it dry completely and then recondition the leather to protect it. Soap and water is another effective way to break down the lining of bacteria and viruses and is often safe for most tack. Diluted bleach disinfects well, but leather may dry out and crack from repeated treatments.
    • Disinfect gate latches, spray nozzles, cross tie snaps, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, and other frequently used items regularly or after contact with personnel
    • Stall door latches, hose ends, light switches, faucets and feed scoops should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • There may be state requirements to wear gloves or face coverings to reduce the risk of spreading germs. Many businesses will be looking to taking the temperature of those present in and will not allow anybody to come if they register a temperature or feel sick and this may go a long way to helping clients feel comfortable.
  • Long story short, nobody spends 2 months on the couch unscathed, so take it easy getting back into training. Many riding stables are closed to tenants and all equine events have been canceled in an effort to reduce the virus’s spread. Due to these closures, many horses are not receiving regular workout schedules, or maybe no exercise at all. While daily lifestyles are difficult for all during this pandemic, adapting a horse’s schedule to a life after quarantine can be equally as challenging. Exercise related injuries would be a terrible way to end the quarantine.

Making boarders and clients safe and secure will be critical in getting the horse industry back on its feet, and each facility, whether private or public, should have written policies regarding COVID-19 and expect all clients and professionals to adhere to them. Keeping our horses healthy has always been a priority, but without their owners you can’t keep the lights on. All of these tips, and more, can be found on the AHC COVID-19 Resource Page, please visit it here as we continue to update it during this transition.

Details: Contact Cliff Williamson at cwilliamson@horsecouncil.org

 

American Horse Council
1616 H Street NW  • 7th Floor •
Washington, DC 20006 • 202-296-4031
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Horses Arrive at Churchill Downs From Fair Grounds

About 175 horses were scheduled to be on the grounds by the end of May 11.

The first horse vans began arriving at Churchill Downs‘ stable gate in the early morning May 11 from Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, with approximately 175 horses scheduled to be on the grounds by the end of the day, according to senior director of the stable area Steve Hargrave.

“We’re so glad to be coming home,” said trainer Greg Foley. Foley, whose family lives in Oldham County, Kentucky, experienced an unplanned, extended stay in New Orleans following the COVID-19 pandemic that delayed entry to the backside at Churchill Downs by nearly two months. Foley is annually one of the first trainers to arrive at Churchill Downs, and he held to tradition Monday as part of his string of horses were the first to arrive at 6 a.m. ET.

Other trainers to have horses that arrived Monday included Tom Amoss, Steve Asmussen, Mark Casse, Bret Calhoun, Steve Margolis, and Al Stall Jr.

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NTRA Safety And Integrity Alliance Releases Best Practices For Spectator-Free Racing

May 7, 2020

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Safety and Integrity Alliance today 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 comprehensive 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 current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), input from racetracks across the U.S. that are already conducting live racing and/or training, and feedback from a newly established Public Health Advisory Council consisting of experts in public health, epidemiology and horseracing who have agreed to contribute their expertise to racetrack re-opening efforts.

In addition to public health protocols established by the CDC, the document includes detailed racetrack-specific operational guidelines. These include the establishment of a COVID-19 Safety Team to manage the myriad issues and situations that may arise when conducting live racing, cleaning and sanitation protocols, frontside operations involving essential employees only, racing and stable area operations that facilitate maximum physical distancing, health and safety requirements specific to jockeys, as well as other public health and safety recommendations.

Initial members of the Public Health Advisory Council include:
· Dr. Rick Greenberg, Infectious Disease Specialist, University of Kentucky
· Dr. Hiram Polk, Former Public Health Commissioner, Kentucky Dept. for Public Health
· Dr. Kelly Ryan, Family and Sports Medicine Specialist, MedStar Health
· Dr. Barry Schumer, Track Physician, Keeneland

“The current economic situation facing many in the horse racing industry make it critical that we work with relevant local authorities to help tracks across the country return to racing as soon as is safely possible,” said NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop. “To this end, the NTRA has engaged a variety of stakeholders and consulted with multiple public health experts to produce comprehensive guidelines that will serve as a blueprint for tracks seeking to operate safely and responsibly in the current public health environment. We urge racetracks to tailor these protocols to fit their unique conditions by working closely with their state and local health department officials, as so much about the safest response to this pandemic is local in nature.”

Version 1.0 of the full document outlining all of the best practices can be found here: https://mk0ntrauj6jy9vera.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/NTRA_Covid_19_Plan_5.6.20-V6-FINAL.pdf

Updates to these best practices will be made on an ongoing basis as necessary.

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS 2020 THOROUGHBRED LIVE RACING SEASON TO GET UNDERWAY ON SATURDAY, JUNE 6

 

The 64-Day Meet Will Run Through Wednesday, September 23

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, which was originally scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 2, will commence on Saturday, June 6. An emergency meeting of the Louisiana State Racing Commission took place on May 5 and unanimous approval for the revised opening date was granted.

Due to state mandates regarding COVID-19, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs concluded its 2020 Quarter Horse meet on Monday, March 16, two days ahead of the scheduled final date. Thoroughbreds have been training here since Monday, April 13 when a judge ruling allowed horsemen to be permitted on the grounds.

The stable area will open on May 6 for horsemen who have been allocated stalls for the 2020 Thoroughbred season.  Ship in hours will be from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm and trainers must contact Natalie Moses at (318) 820-8324 prior to shipping. No exceptions will be permitted.

“We appreciate the patience of all of our horsemen and wish them a safe transition in shipping their runners to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “This has been an incredibly difficult time for our industry, and we will all be grateful to see the return of live racing here next month.”

The meet will be run spectator-free, until further notice, in accordance with sanctions by Governor John Bel Edwards.  Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is in constant communication with the Louisiana Department of Health on procedures and protocols to ensure the safety of horses, horsemen and essential employees.

The first condition book will be available on Equibase in the near future. Further information on the Thoroughbred stakes schedule will be forthcoming, but officials have confirmed that the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby will not be contested in 2020.

The 64-day meet will continue through Wednesday, September 23 with live racing to run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 3:15 pm (Central).

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Commission Approves Louisiana Downs to Open June 6

Money from the canceled Super Derby (G3) will be directed toward overnight purses.

 

Louisiana Downs received authorization by the Louisiana State Racing Commission during a May 5 teleconference to begin its Thoroughbred meet June 6 and continue until Sept. 23. The commission also approved the cancellation of the track’s lone graded race, the Super Derby (G3), which carried a $300,000 purse last year.

“We decided to take care of the local horsemen and put all that money toward overnight purses,” David Heitzmann, director of racing at Louisiana Downs, said in an interview after the commission meeting.

Purses in Louisiana are heavily subsidized by revenue from racetrack casinos, which have been suspended due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Determinations are still being made regarding the track’s purse structure, according to Heitzmann.

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