OAKLAWN TO ALLOW A LIMITED NUMBER OF FANS IN 2021

Pursuant to the Arkansas Department of Health directive, Oaklawn plans to conduct the 2021 live meet with limited spectators. The 57-day season runs from Friday, Jan. 22 – Saturday, May 1.

“We’ve been working on plans covering numerous scenarios and we’re happy to announce we will be welcoming back race fans in 2021, albeit on a limited basis,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “We know that the fans are what make Oaklawn so special, but our main concern is for the safety and well-being of our guests and team members. We appreciate the support we have received from the Arkansas Department of Health in developing this plan. We will be working with them throughout the live season and will adjust as needed.”

In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Arkansas Department of Health, Oaklawn has submitted a plan to allow a limited number of spectators at the races during the 2021 live race meet highlighted by the following:

• General admission into the Grandstand will not be allowed initially in 2021.
• Entrance into the Grandstand will strictly be for guests with a racing credential and/or reservation for that day’s races. Doors will open at 11 am.
• Current seasonal box seat holders and current Oaklawn Jockey Club members may enter the Grandstand with weekly reservations required. Detailed correspondence to be sent separately to these individuals.
• Restaurants inside the Grandstand, following Arkansas Department of Health directives, will be open to the public with weekly reservations required.
• Simulcast will be open Wednesday–Sunday, 11 am–8 pm to limited capacity with weekly reservations required.
• Social distancing will be enforced.
• All guests and team members will be required to have non-invasive temperature checks as they enter the facility. Anyone presenting a temp at/over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted inside the building.
• All guests and team members will be required to wear masks at all times.
• Smoking will not be allowed anywhere inside the facility, including the casino.

Restaurant reservations may be made starting January 18 by calling 501-363-4710.

Simulcast reservations may be made starting January 18 by calling 501-363-4320.

For additional details and future updates, please visit oaklawn.com.

Economic Indicators: Average Wagering Per Race Day Increased In 2020 Despite Pandemic Challenges

Equibase, LLC released its year-end report on Economic Indicators in Thoroughbred Racing on Tuesday, Jan. 5. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Equibase has been providing monthly economic indicators advisories, but this one is for the entire year.

Equibase has provided comparisons between 2019 and 2020 as a whole as well as comparisons between certain portions of 2019 and 2020. The average wagering per race day went up by 32.69% in 2020, which could be linked to more people participating in online wagering. As expected, there was on overall decline in U.S. races, race days, and starts due to a number of tracks having to shut down throughout the year due to COVID-19 safety measures.

 

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Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act Passes Senate

By Bill Finley

Included in a year-end government funding bill that included a $900-billion COVID-19 relief package, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was passed by the House of Representatives and Congress Monday night. The bill is expected to be signed into law shortly by President Donald J. Trump, which would mean that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, once considered a longshot to pass, will become a reality.

The passage of the bill was a a bipartisan effort led by Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

“Kentucky’s cherished horseracing traditions deserve to be protected. I’m proud the Senate agreed to my legislation to preserve our signature racing industry and the 24,000 workers who support it,” McConnell said in a statement. “With the leadership of Congressman Andy Barr and the partnership of sport leaders, horse advocates, and fans, we’re one step closer to promoting fairness and safety across Thoroughbred racing. As Majority Leader, I made this Kentucky-focused legislation a top priority in the Senate. I look forward to this major advancement for our beloved sport becoming law.”

 

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FAIR GROUNDS TO OPEN 2020 – 2021 RACE SEASON WITHOUT SPECTATORS

NEW ORLEANS, LA., (November 17, 2020) – The Fair Grounds Race Course announced today that it will not open its 2020 – 2021 race season on Thanksgiving Day to the general public. The course anticipates making a subsequent announcement in December as to when the general public will be allowed to attend.

 

Said President Doug Shipley, “We are happy to be able to present the Fair Grounds’ 149th racing season, featuring over $7 million in stakes, and continue this longstanding New Orleans tradition despite these unprecedented times. Out of an abundance of caution given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and working with State and Local authorities, we will not be opening the season to the general public at this time, with only licensed horsemen and essential personnel allowed to attend. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and hope to make an announcement soon as to when we will be able to share our racing experience with the general public.”

 

The Fair Grounds’ slots and twelve off-track betting facilities will maintain their normal hours of operations and safety protocols.

 

About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

 

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 12 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 149th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 108th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 26, 2020 through March 28, 2021. More information can be found online atwww.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.

 

BREEDERS’ CUP ANNOUNCES DETAILED HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR 2020 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Championships are set to take place Nov. 6 – 7 at Keeneland under strict COVID-19 protocols.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2020) – Today Breeders’ Cup Limited announced a detailed set of health and safety protocols put in place to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 for the limited staff, participants and essential personnel who will be on site at the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Race Course.

This plan was developed in consultation with Keeneland, local and state government officials, and public health experts, including Dr. Richard Greenberg – Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine. The plan closely follows the guidance established by the Healthy at Work requirements for venues and event spaces, bars and restaurants established by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Last month, Breeders’ Cup announced that the event will be run without spectators to protect the health and safety of employees, racing participants, those caring for the horses and the broader Lexington community. To this end, 2020 World Championships attendance will be limited to racing participants and essential personnel only. “The health and safety of our participants, employees, athletes, associates and the broader Lexington community are our top priorities,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming. “We are proud to be in a position to conduct the 2020 World Championships in a safe manner and allow the top horses from around the world to come together and compete for $31 million in purses and awards over two days of best-in-class racing. It’s a testament to the hard work put in by our entire team and many others, as well as the resiliency of the broader Thoroughbred industry.”

“The important health and safety measures and capacity restrictions that Breeders’ Cup and Keeneland have put in place for this year’s event, including testing, face coverings, physical distancing and medical screening requirements, will go a long way in protecting the wellbeing of the limited number of attendees,” said Dr. Greenberg.

Highlights of Breeders’ Cup’s health and safety protocols for the 2020 World Championships include:

• Breeders’ Cup will provide complimentary testing onsite at Keeneland for participants, media, vendors and staff. All those who will be on site are encouraged to take advantage of this testing.

• All staff, trainers and personnel accessing the Rice Road stable area will be required to present a negative test prior to entering the stable area.

Daily health checks will be conducted at Keeneland entry points. These medical screenings include a medical questionnaire and a contactless temperature check. Only those who have successfully completed these medical screenings will be permitted to enter the grounds.

• Everyone entering the facility will be required to wear a cloth face covering or protective mask and may only remove to actively eat or drink.

Hand sanitizer dispensers, touchless whenever possible, will be placed at key entrances and contact areas.

• Building Services staff will clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces using EPA registered disinfectants on a regular basis. High touch point areas, including all seating, tabletops, other tabletop items, door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, phones, pens, and keypads will be cleaned on a constant rotation.

In-person events surrounding the World Championships have been greatly scaled back and cancelled in most cases.

• The Keeneland Grandstand encompasses over 47,000 square feet of space, allowing for ample physically distancing for the limited number of people who will be on site. Participants will be required to practice proper distancing and stay six feet apart from other parties; this will be strictly enforced.

• All seating will be assigned – all seats and tables will be predetermined and physically distanced.

• Out-of-state or International jockeys must be in Lexington by Wednesday, Nov. 4 to receive COVID-19 test onsite by 7:00 p.m. ET. Jockeys have also been encouraged to get their influenza vaccinations prior to coming to Lexington.

• All out-of-state or international jockeys must also have RT-PCR COVID-19 nasopharyngeal test conducted in the racing jurisdiction they are presently riding in taken within 72 hours before arrival in Kentucky and the test must show a negative result.

• In-state jockeys will have a COVID-19 test completed on Wednesday, Nov. 4 and must have a negative result in order to ride during the Championships.

• Breeders’ Cup will maintain records to allow for contact tracing via a “Virtual Badge” app.

• All those who are feeling sick are encouraged to stay home.

Access to the stable area, paddock, winner’s circle and all indoor spaces will be restricted to authorized credentials.

Dining options will be limited to plated and individually wrapped food items and beverages.

• Participants will be encouraged to wager through Breeders’ Cup’s official online wageringprovider, TVG, or other online providers, rather than betting in person.

Signage and visual markers will be placed throughout the facility stressing mandatory masks/face coverings, hand washing and physical distancing.

• These protocols will be stringently enforced on site.

Breeders’ Cup and Keeneland remain flexible and are continuing to monitor the evolving situation in coordination with authorities to determine whether additional measures will be needed in order to hold the event in a safe and secure manner.

The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships is set to take place Nov. 6 – 7 and will air live on NBC and NBCSN.

 

Hall Of Famer Delahoussaye Views Friday’s ‘Eddie D’ From Afar

by

 

A certified all-time great and longtime member of Racing’s Hall of Fame, Eddie Delahoussaye, for whom Friday’s main event at Santa Anita, the Grade 2, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes, is named, will not be on-hand to present the winner’s trophy along with his wife Juanita.

“With all the Covid stuff going on, we just weren’t able to make it out this year,” said the popular Cajun native from his home in Lafayette, La. “At my age (69), you never know what you’re gonna get! Hopefully things will get back to normal and we can make the trip again next year.”

Retired due to injury in 2003, Delahoussaye, 69, who has worked part time as a blood stock agent and has dabbled in racehorse ownership himself, is in the process of taking on a new role—that of racing commissioner with the state of Louisiana. Although he won’t be officially sworn in until the Louisiana state legislature reconvenes in June, he’s serving in the role of apprentice commissioner in the interim.

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Keeneland Fall Meet To Be Held With Limited Participants Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

September 15, 2020

Keeneland today announced that its 2020 Fall Meet, to be held Oct. 2-24, will be closed to the public due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Only a limited number of participants and essential personnel will be permitted to attend the live race meet.

Keeneland conducted its five-day Summer Meet in July without spectators but did allow a limited number of owners and essential personnel to attend.

“The safety of our employees, our participants and our fans remains Keeneland’s top priority,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We have the most loyal fans in the world and we cannot wait for the day when we can welcome them back for live racing. The decision to close the meet to the public was made after consulting with local and state government officials and public health experts and monitoring how various sporting venues and events around the world have operated during the pandemic. With the guidance of these experts and lessons learned from recent events, we know this is the responsible course of action.”

“Sunday’s kickoff of the 12-day September Yearling Sale, which is followed by the Fall Meet, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the November Breeding Stock Sale, marks the beginning of a significant three months of business for Keeneland and the horse industry as a whole,” Keeneland President-Elect and Interim Head of Sales Shannon Arvin said. “It is paramount that we conduct our sales and racing operations in a safe and responsible manner that promotes the health and success of everyone involved.

“We will remain flexible and vigilant leading up to and throughout our Fall Meet to ensure that we observe the most current health and safety protocols and respond to any changes in a timely and thoughtful manner,” Arvin added.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, strict compliance with the following health and safety protocols will be required for participants and employees while they are at Keeneland. Similar protocols were in place for the Summer Meet and are in effect for Keeneland’s current September Yearling Sale:

·       Individuals permitted to come onto the Keeneland grounds will be credentialed or ticketed in advance. Seating will be assigned and properly social distanced on race days.

·       Participants include those with a competing horse, including a limited number of owners and trainers. Keeneland also will allow limited access to sponsors, box holders and Club members.

·       Keeneland will not permit any general admission or walk-up attendees. Credentialed participants will be assigned a seat for the race day.

·       Keeneland will maintain records to allow for contact tracing.

·       Health screenings, including a series of questions and temperature checks, will continue at all entrance gates.

·       All individuals must wear a face mask and maintain proper social distancing while at Keeneland.

Two Scholarships Each Valued at $1,000 to be Awarded on Facebook Live Sept. 19. Live from Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

Two Scholarships to be Awarded on Louisiana Cup Day at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs!
We are drawing for two $1,000 scholarships on September 19 via Facebook Live during Louisiana Cup Day at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
The drawings will be between the fifth and sixth races in the winners circle. The first race starts at 3:05 p.m. CDT.
The requirements for the scholarship are as follows:
  • Must be a college student enrolled full-time in a Louisiana College, University or Community College for Fall 2020.
  • Must be in good standing with the college or university.
  • Must have University ID number or Social Security number.
*Due to the COVID-19 students do not have to be present to win a scholarship.
**There will not be a registration booth on site.
The scholarship will be deposited directly into the student’s account at the college or university. The student is asked to know the name and address of the college that they are attending.
Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association manages the best incentive program for breeding thoroughbreds in the United States. Since the organization formed, this has led to increased purses, better quality horses, and increased interest in racing and breeding horses. The thoroughbred racing and breeding industry generates over $1 billion and employs over 60,000 people in the state of Louisiana.
For more information about Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association visit louisianabred.com or call 1-800-772-1195.

LA Horsemen Plea to Commission for Emergency Stabling

By T. D. Thornton

In the aftermath of Hurricane Laura that devastated structures at Delta Downs last week, the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (LHBPA) made a written plea to the Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) Sept. 2 asking for an emergency order to be handed down that would mandate “immediate access to stalls to stable at both Louisiana Downs and Fair Grounds.”

The request for stabling involves both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, and is complicated by meets for both breeds ending and starting within the same rough time frame at Louisiana’s four tracks. Additionally, the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic is making movement of people and horses difficult.

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Jockey Hernandez Tests Positive for COVID-19

Rider off Churchill Downs mounts Sept 1.

 

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. reported Sept. 1 that he had tested positive for COVID-19, but that he is no longer contagious since he is also positive for the virus antibodies.

Hernandez was taken off the four mounts on which he was named for the Tuesday card at Churchill Downs that kicks off the week leading up to the rescheduled Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), and it was unclear when he would be able to resume riding. He had 25 mounts lined up for Sept. 1-4.

“We got the antibody results back,” Hernandez wrote in a text message. “I am positive for the virus but positive for the antibodies as well, which means I am no longer contagious. Now we are waiting for Churchill and the health department to tell us when we can go back to riding.”

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