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Multiple Tracks Abandon Races

Published: March 12, 2020 1:16 pm ET

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Trot Insider has learned of multiple U.S. tracks that have abandoned upcoming racing programs as precautionary measures due to recent developments with COVID-19.

Currently, Dover Downs, Freehold Raceway, The Meadowlands, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Yonkers Raceway have abandoned their races for the balance of the week. Trot Insider will provide updates as they are made available.

Dover Downs has cancelled racing for Thursday evening (March 12) after discussion with DSOA and DHRC representatives.

This precautionary measure is in light of the current situation in surrounding racing jurisdictions and does not impact racing beyond Thursday as plans are to resume racing Monday (March 16).

(Dover Downs)

After an individual in contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the races at Freehold Raceway on Saturday (March 7), management has abandoned racing at the New Jersey track for the next two weeks.

Freehold Raceway has been advised that an individual who has been in contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) was in attendance at the track on Saturday (March 7).

As of today, the individual who was in attendance at Freehold Raceway has not tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) but continues to be monitored.

In light of these circumstances, Freehold Raceway has issued the following statement:

“In the interest and health of our guests, horsemen, horsewomen and employees, we have made the decision to close all operations at Freehold Raceway until all areas of our racing and grandstand buildings have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Live racing scheduled for March 13, 14, 20 and 21 will be cancelled and no simulcasting will be conducted.

“All employees and any other individuals who were in the Freehold racing areas on March 7 are being requested to self-quarantine. Freehold Raceway has been in communication with local health officials regarding this situation and will continue to communicate updates as needed.”

Freehold Raceway is committed to continuing to adjust our efforts as directed by public health officials. In addition, the following items will be implemented going forward for guest safety:

• More frequent public restroom cleaning rotations
• Additional sanitation stations in high volume
• Increased sanitation of door handles and wagering devices
• Sanitation of menus after each guest use in all food and beverage venues
• Continued awareness amongst team members regarding cleanliness and sanitation, i.e. hand washing
• Additional carpet cleaning in high volume areas

(Freehold Raceway)

Due to recent developments in the area related to health concerns, The Meadowlands has decided to cancel live racing this weekend (March 13 and 14).

"It's become impossible to provide the needed protection for those racing and those attending the races," said Meadowlands GM Jason Settlemoir. "We wanted to go and get everyone raced, but you get to a point where the possible negative consequences outweigh the positive aspects. So we'll follow all developments closely and keep everyone informed of the status of live racing in the near future."


The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association (PHHA) have cancelled live racing for Saturday (March 14), Sunday (March 15) and Monday (March 16). Additionally, training on Friday (March 13) and Tuesday (March 17) has also been cancelled.

This decision has been made with an abundance of caution in mind for the current situation within regional racing jurisdictions.

With this cancelation, the draws for the week of March 16 will each be pushed back one day. The draw for Saturday, March 21 will be held on Tuesday, March 17; the draw for Sunday, March 22 will be held on Wednesday, March 18; and the draw for Monday, March 23 will be held on Thursday, March 19.


Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts (“Empire City”) announced today the suspension of racing operations at its harness track, Yonkers Raceway, through Wednesday, March 18.

Empire City learned on Tuesday, March 10 that an employee of the Standardbred Owners Association (“SOA”), the harness horsemen association, tested positive for COVID-19 before passing away. The individual had an office in the Yonkers Raceway paddock building located next to the racetrack and was last there on February 28, 2020. His death was announced Tuesday, March 10th by New Jersey officials, as he was a resident of that state.

As a precaution, racing was canceled on March 10 and employees who had direct contact with the individual were provided with information to secure testing, self-quarantine, and advised to contact their healthcare providers if they are experiencing symptoms. Professional cleaners were engaged to deep clean and sanitize the impacted areas, including the race office and paddock.

In addition to regular cleaning procedures, Empire City has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting protocols, with a specific focus on high touch surfaces. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the casino.

Empire City released the following statement: “The health and safety of our guests and employees remains our highest priority. We continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and closely follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health officials. We offer our deepest sympathies to the family of the colleague we lost. It is a tremendous loss to the sport of racing, the SOA, and the Yonkers Raceway team. He will be missed.”

Empire City Casino and its dining entities remain open with regular operating hours.


Buffalo Raceway announced on Thursday, March 12 that live harness racing will continue but only essential personnel and horsemen will be permitted on the grounds until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The track's clubhouse will be closed to all patrons wishing wager on the races live.

Wagering on Buffalo Raceway will be available throughout various off-track betting and simulcasting locations along with ADW outlets.

Simulcasting daily in the Buffalo Raceway clubhouse will be closed indefinitely, as well.

Racing will be conducted on Saturday evening starting a 6 p.m. with a 13-race card scheduled.

(Buffalo Raceway)

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