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Racing Deals With COVID-19 Outbreak

Published: March 12, 2020 6:02 pm ET

Last Comment: March 14, 2020 9:20 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The North American harness racing industry is not immune to the effects of the world's current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, with many tracks cancelling races or forced into emergency action.

A number of U.S. tracks -- Dover Downs, Freehold Raceway, The Meadowlands, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Yonkers Raceway -- have cancelled upcoming race cards, prompted in part by the passing of SOA of New York's John Brennan from coronavirus earlier this week. In Europe, Denmark and Italy have cancelled racing due to the virus outbreak.

In light of recent events, Canada's active racetracks have taken steps to protect the participants travelling to and from the facilities.

The following updates were provided to Standardbred Canada as of 2:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13. No cancellations for upcoming cards have been announced, with all cards scheduled to proceed as planned.

Century Downs

"We are following the directives of Alberta Health Services on a daily basis as well as employing updates as they come about," said General Manager Paul Ryneveld. "These are being communicated through signage, literature, management and staff.  There is additional and substantial cleaning and disinfecting conducted by our Housekeeping provider in addition to availability of sanitary wipes and hand sanitizer for our guests and staff."

Flamboro Downs

"The health and safety of our guests and team members has always been of the utmost importance to us, and we have always been vigilant about cleanliness," said Flamboro's Chad Gates in a statement. "Since January, we have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and taking proactive measures, such as handwashing posters with a reminder of cough/sneeze etiquette as directed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), as well as hand sanitizer dispensers in areas where handwashing poses a challenge.

"We have taken a number of other measures including more frequently cleaning gaming equipment and supplies that guests interface with, and our efforts go beyond just gaming equipment to include frequently touched surfaces including counters, door handles, dining areas, seating areas, railings and restrooms. We have also reinforced the importance of hand hygiene with our team members, and are regularly communicating to our teams about notifications and guidance from government health care agencies regarding the current COVID-19 situation. 

"We continue to closely monitor this situation and follow direction from government health care agencies."

The Raceway at Western Fair District

"In regards to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Western Fair District is monitoring the situation updates being provided by the three relevant levels of public health in Canada – the local health unit (Middlesex London Health Unit), Ontario Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

"At this time, PHAC has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada but this could change rapidly.

"While the risk remains low, Western Fair District will continue to operate as normal. Our staff have your, and their health and safety in mind always. We continue to follow our procedures for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting our facilities. These procedures are consistent with our public health authority’s current guidelines for controlling infectious agents in public spaces.

"When attending public events, at Western Fair District or otherwise, we encourage you to follow these practical health tips:

- Keep your hands clean
- Refrain from touching your face
- Maintain social distance
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- If you are sick, or starting to feel sick, stay at home
- If you have traveled to an identified high-risk area within two weeks of your planned attendance, please consider attending next year.

Rideau Carleton Raceway

Rideau Carleton Raceway’s highest commitment is to the health and safety of all our patrons, employees and horsepeople. As developments unfold regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), Rideau Carleton Raceway remains vigilant.

At this time, RCR intends to race Sunday March 15th’s card as scheduled, including qualifiers, with additional precautionary measures including:

1., Enhanced screening for all participants entering the backstretch.
2., Additional provision of available sanitation stations throughout the facility, including the paddock.
3., Advanced communication of techniques to identify and mitigate transmission of this illness.


Working closely with Ottawa Public Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada, Rideau Carleton shall communicate promptly of any changes in our racing program.

Woodbine Mohawk Park

WEG Monitoring COVID-19 Developments
Management from the Woodbine Entertainment Group has issued a statement to its guests with respect to recent developments concerning the spread of on

Mohawk Implementing Screening Process As Precautionary Measure
Due to the growing public concerns about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and as part of precautionary measures being taken in the interest of health and safety, Woodbine Mohawk Park and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) announced on Wednesday (March 11) a new screening process for entry into the on

Mohawk Implements Precautionary Health Measures
Woodbine Entertainment and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) would like to immediately inform all horsepeople of reasonable precautions and steps being taken in the interest of health and on

Please see additional information below on best practices:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.

  • Stay home when you are ill and immediately inform your employer if you are experiencing the following symptoms: Fever, Dry Cough, Muscle Aches, Tiredness and Difficulty Breathing.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.

  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

It is strongly recommended at this time that you remain home, seek medical attention and/or self-isolate for a period of 14 days if you or someone you live with has recently travelled to/from a designated affected area such as China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Singapore or Iran.
For more information on COVID-19, visit these websites:

Ontario Health

Public Health Agency of Canada

March 14, 2020 - 9:20 amHey, I'm just grateful that

Mike Mobley SAID...

Hey, I'm just grateful that the Canadian tracks have remained open. They're going to receive a LOT of business from The USA this weekend!

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