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Assiniboia Still Planning On Racing

Published: March 23, 2020 11:50 am ET

Last Comment: March 23, 2020 4:56 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Although racing plans have changed rapidly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Assiniboia Downs is still planning on kicking off its 2020 Thoroughbred meet on May 10. Track CEO Darren Dunn has said that the move is not to capitalize on the situation, but to help try to save the industry.

"In no way, shape or form are we trying to capitalize on the lack of gaming or sports product out there," Dunn recently told the Winnipeg Free Press. "That’s not it at all. As a matter of fact, should we run a modified race meet, we’re going to lose money doing it. The reason we believe we have to do it is to save the industry."

Assiniboia Downs has closed its facility to the public, a move that includes the Club West Gaming Lounge that houses 140 VLTs, the on-site simulcast area, and the food and beverage facilities. All employees currently on the payroll are being paid during the closure period. If races are ultimately contested at the track, handicappers will have trhe ability to wager on the races via HPI.

In terms of the track’s live Thoroughbred season, the plans to race remain in place, although they are subject to a continued assessment given the evolving nature of the pandemic.

The Winnipeg Free Press story explains that roughly 140 horses are currently in training at the track. That number is roughly a quarter of the horses that usually take part in an Assiniboia meet. Also, the prospect of American-based horses travelling to Manitoba for the meet appears to be slimmer and slimmer as days go on.

"If things get worse and our live race meet is not allowed to continue, then yes, it would be very bleak for those local people that own horses, train horses or even breed horses," Blaine McLaren, who serves as the president of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of Manitoba, was quoted as saying. "Without that opportunity to recoup some of the investments they’ve made, there would be a lot of people that would just decide to stop participating."

(With files from Assiniboia Downs and the Winnipeg Free Press)

March 23, 2020 - 4:56 pmThere are many thoroughbred

Diane Lord SAID...

There are many thoroughbred racetracks still racing in the USA, without the public, I don't see why Assiniboia Downs can't race.

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