TAMPA.Fla.--Scheduled to end May 3, the Tampa Bay Downs meet will now be extended to May 30.
Tampa had revealed its intentions to expand the meet earlier this week, but could not make an official announcement until receiving permission from Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to add the extra days.
Tampa currently races four days a week, but once the extended meet begins it will cut back to three, and there will be no racing on Sundays.
Under the new schedule, 12 days of racing will be run that would not have been otherwise.
Horsemen at Tampa were in a difficult situation as nearly all of them relocate to another track once Tampa closes.
Most of the tracks they normally go to are scheduled to race any time soon and some have not opened their backstretches to incoming horses.
“We wanted to assist the horsemen because it was not clear where they could go once we end our season,” said Tampa Bay Downs Director of Marketing Margo Flynn. “To be able to help them through that process was first and foremost in our plans. Without the horsemen we are nothing. We wanted to make something work for everyone.”
CHURCHILL DOWNS Racetrack received approval from state officials to reopen its stable areas at both Churchill Downs Racetrack and the auxiliary training center Trackside on Monday, May 11 under strict guidelines to effectively mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
The stable areas will reopen under a phased, systematic approach.
Churchill Downs Racetrack officials have announced that opening day of the 2020 Spring Meet will be Saturday, May 16.
After opening weekend on May 16-17, racing at the historic Louisville racetrack will be staged Thursdays through Sundays with a special holiday Monday card on Memorial Day, May 25.
Post time for the first race each day will be 1 p.m. (all times Eastern).
“We were able to come to an agreement specifically with the group that’s going to start, Churchill Downs,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said during his 5 p.m. news conference Wednesday April 29. “They are going to start accepting horses and start accepting folks on their backside on May 11. There will be no fans for racing. I will tell you this is one of the most detailed plans that we have seen about specific security checks that everybody has to go through and be temperature-checked to masking to having a very limited group that is there.”
Churchill Downs, in conjunction with other Kentucky racetracks and the KHRC, has identified specific protocols for its stabling and racing facilities as it relates to COVID-19. A multitude of precautions and procedures based on criteria set by public health experts will be implemented to ensure the safety of all employees, stakeholders and horses.
Racing at Churchill Downs during the Spring Meet will be conducted spectator-free until government officials approve fans returning to the historic track.
Only authorized racetrack employees and KHRC license holders who are providing support for a horse stabled at the facility will be permitted on property.
This specifically includes only trainers with horses stabled or racing on the facility grounds and those who are responsible for the care of the horses (veterinarians, grooms, exercise riders and farriers).
The 146th Kentucky Derby was rescheduled from Saturday, May 2 to Saturday, Sept. 5.
AS PART of coronavirus health and safety protocol issued by the Maryland Jockey Club and its parent company, The Stronach Group, it is imperative that all persons in the stable area at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course wear face coverings.
The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association earlier arranged for the making and shipment of reusable face masks for use by those who work on the backstretch.
They were distributed by MJC security staff to backstretch workers, trainers, assistant trainers, exercise riders and others, and more are available.
“Based on the protocols at other Stronach Group tracks, everybody should be wearing a face covering,” MJC Director of Security Major Mike Singletary said. “And if we’re trying to get back to having live racing, this is one of the initiatives set forth by the governor. If anyone needs a mask, they should ask a member of the security team. Stock is available. If masks are provided, masks should be worn.”