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Pompano, Hoosier Evictions Rescinded

Published: March 21, 2020 2:17 pm ET

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Horsepeople currently stabled at Harrah's Hoosier Park and Pompano Park can breathe a sigh of relief as management at both racetracks have withdrawn earlier eviction notices.

A midweek announcement from Eldorado Casinos stated that all trainers, caretakers and their horses in the backstretch at Pompano Park racetrack were told that they must vacate the premises by March 31, 2020. Notices were sent out to the horsepeople at Pompano Park late Thursday morning, with flyers posted in the backstretch stating: “Closure Notice...For the safety and security of all, the backstretch will be closing March 31. All dorms and barns need to be vacated by March 31.”

On Saturday morning, Pompano's horsepeople were told by management that they would not be evicted.

“There is no eviction notice,” said Joe Morris, the new Vice-President of Racing for Eldorado Casinos. “We have to look out for each other. We will not evict any horses or people. We will not be throwing out anyone in the dorms. If we (Eldorado) need to help feed people in the backstretch, we will do it. If a trainer can’t afford feed or hay for their horses, we will help them. If a horseman has the opportunity to ship and race at another track and can’t afford it, we will help them.

“We don’t know how long this coronavirus will keep us shut down,” Morris continued. “We don’t know if we will be able to race this meet right now, but we are already meeting and planning for the race meet next season.

“We are also looking into your health insurance,” Morris added. “We will not allow anyone in the backstretch to go without health insurance at a time like this. In today’s world you have to have health insurance and if need be, we will help fund it. We have to look out after each other.”

Similarly, a letter a letter dated Friday, March 20, Harrah's Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand gave horsepeople 14 days to vacate the backstretch.

"Our team on property is committed to doing everything we can to help during this process," the letter stated. "We will work closely with all parties who are affected by this unprecedented closure, and we will reopen once COVID-19 restrictions have lifted and our collective racing governing bodies and organizations in Indiana deem appropriate to do so."

After meetings throughout the late evening on Friday, a resolution was reached to keep Hoosier Park's backstretch open to horses and horsemen.

"It's really about doing the right thing right now, and we had very good talks last night that got this reversed," said Joe Putnam, president of the Indiana Standardbred Association. "They won't be allowing anyone else to ship in right now, but the people and horses who are there right now don't have to leave."

(with files from Harnesslink and Harnessracing.com)


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