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Racing Returns To Ontario Friday

Published: June 7, 2021 12:56 pm ET

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With Ontario entering Step One of the ‘Roadmap to Reopen’ plan earlier than originally expected, the province's harness racing industry will once again conduct live racing starting this Friday (June 11).

Based on the provincewide vaccination rate and continuing improvements in key public health and health system indicators, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will move the province into Step One of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021.

“Thanks to the ongoing success of Team Ontario’s vaccine rollout and the ongoing improvements in public health trends, we are able to enter step one of the Roadmap and begin to safely and cautiously lift restrictions,” said Premier Doug Ford. “The only reason we’re able to do so is because of the enormous sacrifices made by individuals, families and communities across Ontario. As we begin to enjoy the benefits of the first step in our roadmap like meeting friends on a patio or visiting your favourite local store, please do so safely by continuing to follow all public health guidelines.”

In order to safely enter Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen, Ontario needed to have vaccinated 60 per cent of adults with at least one dose for two weeks or longer, ensuring the first dose offers a strong level of protection against COVID-19. As of June 6, 2021 at 8:00 p.m., 72 per cent of the 18+ population in Ontario had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine with over 10 million doses now having been administered.

As a result of this accelerated timeframe, multiple racetracks announced on Monday (June 7) that live racing would return this weekend. Announcements follow from Woodbine Mohawk Park, Clinton Raceway, Georgian Downs, Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway.

In addition to the announcements received on Monday, Trot Insider has learned that Grand River Raceway, Hanover Raceway and Hiawatha Horse Park all plans to race this weekend as well. Grand River has a card scheduled for Friday (June 11) while Hanover and Hiawatha have added cards for Saturday (June 12).

Further return announcements will be added here as they are received.


Standardbred Racing to Resume at Woodbine Mohawk Park This Friday

With Ontario entering Step One of the ‘Roadmap to Reopen’ plan earlier than originally expected, Woodbine Entertainment announced today (June 7) that Standardbred Racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park will resume this Friday (June 11) and Saturday (June 12) with 7:00 p.m. post times.

Racing will then continue its typical five race days per week schedule, with live Standardbred Racing on Monday, June 14.

“While it has been a very frustrating period, I would like to thank the Government of Ontario for the recent attention it has given the horse racing industry,” said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. “In particular, I would like to thank Premier Doug Ford for his understanding and interest in the plight of the horse racing industry that has been so greatly impacted by the global pandemic and ensuing government restrictions.”

Live racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park will operate without any spectators due to government restrictions.

“Although our industry has been substantially impacted, I do very much remain confident in the future of horse racing in Ontario and look forward to getting back on track later this week,” Lawson added. “On behalf of Woodbine Entertainment, thank you to our horse people for their patience, professionalism, and resiliency they continue to demonstrate, especially in face of adversity.”


Clinton Raceway Kicks Off Season June 13th, New Wagering Menu

Clinton Raceway is thrilled to announce that the 2021 season will begin on June 13. The 2021 racing season is highlighted by the 2021 $50,000 Kin Pace, Annual Driver’s Challenge, and multiple Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events. The post time for racing will be 1:30 p.m. (EDT).

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions we will be unable to have fans at the track. Fans are able to catch all the action from the comfort of their own homes through the live broadcast available on Facebook, YouTube and on Clinton's website. Clinton Raceway track announcer, Frank Salive, will be in the booth to take fans through the action. Wagering is available through HPI Bet. Fans and horseplayers can sign up here, and receive $100 free.

Clinton Raceway is also pleased to announce multiple additions to the wagering menu for the 2021 season. The menu will feature an early $2,500 guaranteed Pick-5 wager with a low takeout of 15 percent beginning in Race 1. This will be complimented by a 20-cent Pick 3 starting in Race 4 and the repositioning of the usual $2,000 guaranteed 15% low takeout Pick 4 wager to Race 7.

The following multi-leg wagers will be offered in the following races:

Race 1: $2,500 Guaranteed Pick 5, Early Double
Race 4: 20-cent Pick 3
Race 7: $2,000 Guaranteed Pick 4
Race 9: Late Double

“We are thrilled to offer these exciting additions to our wagering menu for the 2021 season.” said Clinton Raceway Assistant General Manager Tony Elliott. “We look forward to offering a great product for fans and horseplayers again this season.”


Georgian Downs Return to Racing

Georgian Downs is excited to announce that live harness racing will return to the Barrie area oval on Tuesday, June 15.

The racing season will remain unchanged from last season with first race post time on Tuesdays and Saturdays set for 7:15 p.m. (EDT) Sunday will also remain unchanged and will go postward at 6:00 p.m. (EDT).

Training will be available Wednesday (June 9), Thursday (June 10) and Friday (June 11) from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (EDT). Once the live racing schedule begins training days will be Thursday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (EDT) beginning Thursday, June 17 and continue through to the end of August. Qualifiers will once again be scheduled for Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. (EDT).

Important Notice: Although spectators will not be permitted to attend our live racing at Georgian Downs, fans are invited to take in all the excitement that Georgian Downs has to offer by watching its live streaming video at georgiandowns.com. Free programs are also available on its website. Georgian Downs will be available for wagering through hpibet.com as well as all of its simulcast partners locations worldwide.

Georgian Downs encourages the horsepeople coming to Georgian Downs in 2021 to familiarize themselves with the following protocols that have been put in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of team members and racing participants:

Ontario Racing Enhanced Racing Covid Protocols

Ontario Racing is fully committed to ensuring the health and safety of all participates by mitigating manageable risks while racing during the COVID 19 Pandemic. The following document delineates the enhanced operational policies and procedures at Ontario’s racetracks to conduct racing in a safe manner. At no time will spectators be allowed on the premises. The base protocols have been developed in collaboration with our horse people associations, public health officials, Ontario Racing and our various governing bodies. Racetracks are required to strengthen these protocols to cover local environments and situations as they occur. Each location will be required to review protocols with and receive approval to conduct racing from the AGCO prior to beginning racing.

Access to the Paddock:

· Only essential personnel for the conduct of training, qualifiers or live racing will be granted access into the backstretch perimeter as determined by posted security personnel.

· There will be the only one point of entry for all racetrack Staff, Regulatory Officials and Racing Participants.

· Only Trainers with an entry will be permitted, unless entering a claim that night. Each entry shall have a maximum of one handler.

· No one under the age of 16 shall be permitted in the paddock.

Post times to be communicated from Race Office. Races will be spaced at a minimum of 25-minute intervals. All horses must report to the Paddock as prescribed by the rules of racing as published by the AGCO.

Access will only be granted after a mandatory pre-screening that will include:

· Presentation of applicable AGCO credentials.

· Evidence of a temperature below 100.5 degrees determined by a No Touch Forehead Thermometer.

· Evidence of possession of a personal protective face mask.

· Evidence of possession of a functioning mobile phone device.

· Satisfactory completion of a Covid questionnaire/active screening

· Providing participants name, e-mail/phone contact

While in the Paddock:

Racing participants are instructed to get in and get out quickly and efficiently. Horses shall be placed in the paddock to ensure physical distancing is being practiced and all available paddock space will be utilized as well as adjacent stall areas. Masks are mandatory at all times, medical masks recommended for Racing Participants. It is strongly recommended Racing Participants also wear gloves when coming into contact with frequently touched areas such as water taps, cross ties and door latches.

· Given the warmer weather, racetracks should keep entrance doors and windows open for ventilation purposes.

· Handlers of all horses must ensure they are keeping the appropriate distance from other handlers of horses in their respective areas.

· All horses and associated handlers must leave the paddock half an hour following their race, unless the handler is tending to horses in a later race. Horses who have been post-race tested may leave the paddock 45 minutes following their race.

· The driver's/jockey locker room, lounge and showers shall remain closed. Drivers/jockeys are to wear face masks, gloves and social distance at all times, except when racing. Upon the completion of the driver’s/jockey's last race of the day, he/she should leave the paddock immediately after notifying the Paddock Judge.

· All Communications should be carried out electronically where possible to limit in person contact. There shall be no loitering in or around the entrance to the paddock, all COVID-19 protocols on physical distancing shall be adhered to.

· The AGCO judge’s office in the backstretch will be closed. Contact with the AGCO Judges during a live event will only be through individual mobile phones.

·Shared communication devices are prohibited. In person communication with racing participates will be at the discretion of the designated AGCO judge.

· Paddock kitchens will not be available.

· The Paddock shall be disinfected after each racing, qualifying & training day. Sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the Paddock.

Lasix and CPMA Test Barn Procedures:

· There shall be no loitering in or at the entrance to the test area.

· For pre-race Lasix all handlers must either be outside in an open area practicing physical distancing or waiting in their vehicle until it is time for their horse to report to the Paddock to race.

· Following each race, two horses shall be tested. Blood shall be drawn on all test horses after 40 minutes if the horse is unable to provide a urine sample. Track security personnel shall be stationed outside of the test area to ensure all horses and their handlers are entering and exiting the test area in an appropriate fashion.

· Security will also supply anyone entering the test barn a new mask.

· Physical distancing to be practiced at all times. When entering the test barn with a horse, attend the opposite side of the horse away from the technician or follow other local protocols in place.

· Remain vigilant and respectful of the Racing Forensic Technicians at all times.

· Hands sanitized on the way in and way out of the test area.

Track Maintenance/Starting Gate Vehicles:

· All maintenance vehicle cabins are to be disinfected at the start and end of each use.

· No vehicle will accommodate more than one operator and no employee will crossover any assigned vehicle for that event.

· The starting gate vehicle shall be sanitized and cleaned daily.

· Where there is a passenger either in the back seat or passenger seat of the starting gate, a plexi-glass partition shall be installed to maintain proper segregation from the starting gate driver.

· All track vehicle operators will wear medical masks at all times.

· Access to the track maintenance area is strictly prohibited to anyone other than the track maintenance personnel.

Positive Covid Test:

In the event that the racetrack becomes aware that a person who has tested positive for COVID has attended the track, the track in consultation with Public Health will notify all employees and participants who may have been exposed to the affected individual. The track will ensure that the infected person does not re-enter the premises until the person is able to provide evidence of a negative test and clearance from a doctor to return to work. All individuals with potential contact with an infected individual will need to provide evidence of a negative test.


Kawartha Downs Returns To Racing

Kawartha Downs will be returning to Live Racing on Saturday June 12. Post Time is 4:00 p.m. (EDT) and qualifiers will be at 1:30 p.m. (EDT). No Spectators are permitted.

Please check the condition sheet for when the box closes for entries and Contact information to speak to Sheri Minler-Grabatin our Race Secretary.


Live Racing To Return To Rideau Carleton

Following today’s announcement from the Ontario Government, please be advised that Rideau Carleton Raceway intends to resume its live race schedule this Sunday (June 13) with a first post of 6:30 p.m. A condition sheet for that date will be published imminently.


(with files from Woodbine, the Province of Ontario, Clinton Raceway, Georgian Downs, Kawartha Downs)


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