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Updated: Woodbine Mohawk Park Protocols For Racing Operations

Published: May 26, 2020 1:59 pm ET

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On Wednesday (May 27), Woodbine Entertainment released a revision of its Phase One protocols applicable for all racing operations at Woodbine Mohawk Park, including race nights, qualifiers and training.

All racing participants and staff are required to familiarize with and practice the protocols.

Woodbine Mohawk Park opened for training on Wednesday, May 27. The first qualifying day is Thursday, May 28. Live racing resumes on Friday, June 5. All live racing, qualifiers and training will be held without spectators.

WOODBINE MOHAWK PARK – PROTOCOLS

Applicable to all operations including Race Nights, Qualifiers and Training Mornings - Phase 1

Effective May 27, 2020

We are working hard to keep our racing participants safe and healthy. Please help us all keep racing operations going safely by following the protocols set out in this document. Every essential staff person and racing participant must follow the safest practices on-site and off-site: please try to limit exposure outside of the racetrack, stay 6 feet/2m away from others, recommended to wear a mask outside the home if possible, do not touch your face, and wash hands/sanitize frequently.

The health of our horsepeople is of paramount importance, but the group that pose the greatest risk to continue racing are the drivers, the starting car driver and starter. Please handle these groups with great care and respect, and encourage others to do so, too. Always wear your mask, keep your hands sanitized, and wear gloves when coming into contact with frequently touched areas such as water taps, cross ties and stall door latches.

As per Government guidelines, the Woodbine Mohawk Park site will be closed to all spectators. Owners and media are not permitted at this time. Only essential personnel will be granted access.

General Rules of Paddock Operation:

The paddock shall be disinfected after each racing, qualifying and training day. Sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the paddock. Entry into the paddock shall be limited to essential personnel only. Non-essential personnel will not be granted access to the site.

Every person entering the paddock shall undergo screening and temperature checks at the security checkpoint. This will be the only point of entry for all Woodbine staff, regulatory officials and racing participants.

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, as all COVID-19 protocols on physical distancing shall be adhered to.

The paddock kitchen shall remain closed. All essential personnel must bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages until further notice. There will be no microwave in the paddock. Racing participants are encouraged to bring their own supply of drinking water during the extreme warm temperatures.

Masks (or face coverings over the nose and mouth) are mandatory at all times for racing participants. It is strongly recommended that racing participants also wear gloves when coming into contact with frequently touched areas such as water taps, cross ties and door latches.

Essential paddock personnel includes:

  • paddock judge, horse identifier, saddle pad attendant, parking lot attendant, outrider, two starting car persons, security, blacksmith, veterinarians, TCO2 tech, test barn techs, property services labourer, trainers, grooms, drivers, judges, official racetrack photographer, and Woodbine broadcast and track maintenance employees.

  • Owners are not permitted at this time as per Provincial guidelines for sports without spectators.

  • Only trainers with an entry will be permitted, unless entering a claim that night.

  • No one under the age of 16 shall be permitted on site until further notice.

  • Only the paddock judge and equipment inspector will have access to the paddock office.

  • The grandstand will remain closed, other than the race office and bookkeeper.

  • There are no food or beverage operations in the grandstand until further notice.

  • Grandstand washrooms are closed. Paddock facilities will be cleaned as per protocols.

Hand cleaning and sanitization stations have been added to all key areas.

Race Night Operations:

Post times to be communicated from race office. Races will be spaced at 25-minute intervals. All horses must report to the paddock as per their 1-hour retention time.

Physical Distancing:

Racing participants are instructed to get in and get out quickly and efficiently.

Horses in the old portion of the paddock shall be placed in every other stall to ensure physical distancing is being practised. Horses racing out of the new paddock expansion shall be placed in stalls side by side, as these stalls are much wider, and the walls between stalls are over 8 feet high. Handlers of all horses must ensure they are keeping the appropriate distance from the handler of the horse beside them, and wear a face mask and gloves at all times.

Horses shall only be allowed to go one warm-up trip. Trainers wishing to go two warm-up trips must go first warm up at home/training centre. There shall be no extra warm-up people in the paddock. Trainers must warm up their own horses. Each horse racing shall have a maximum of one handler. Trainers racing multiple horses must have grooms taking care of multiple horses. All horses and their 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 drivers' locker room, lounge and showers shall remain closed at this time.

Drivers are to wear face masks and gloves at all times, except when driving during the race. While waiting between races, drivers should maintain physical distancing protocols. Upon a driver’s last race of the day, he or she should leave the paddock immediately after notifying the paddock judge.

Lasix and CPMA Test Barn Procedures:

Lasix shall be administered in the two stalls at the southwest corner of the old paddock. These stalls will be fenced off so that non-Lasix horses do not have access to these stalls. Trainers shall unload their horses at the southwest door, and their horses will be administered its Lasix. Once horses receive Lasix, they shall be taken back to Barn 8. There shall be no loitering in or at the entrance of Barn 8. All handlers must either be outside in an open area practising physical distancing or waiting in their vehicle until it is time for their horse to report to the paddock.

Post-race testing: 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. A Woodbine security guard 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. The security guard will also supply anyone entering the test barn a new mask and gloves.

  • Physical distancing is to be practised at all times. When entering the test barn with a horse, attend the opposite side of the horse from the technician.

  • Remain vigilant and respectful of the racing forensic technicians at all times.

  • Hands should be sanitized on the way in and way out.

  • Masks and gloves are mandatory.

Start Car:

  • The start car driver and starteer will wear medical masks at all times.

  • The start car shall be sanitized and cleaned daily.

Racing Offices and Bookkeeper Racing Finance:

Race office staff must ensure physical distancing is practised. An extreme push shall be made to have trainers make their entries online. No more than one person shall be at the counter at a time. All others must wait outside of office doors with appropriate distance between each person. There shall be plexiglass or plastic sheet between employees and horsepeople at counter.

The bookkeeper's office shall only have one person in addition to the bookkeeper at any time. All others must wait outside office doors with appropriate distance between each person. There shall be a plexiglass window around desk.

Bookkeeper will only be open for business during live racing hours only.

The protocols above apply to all qualifying races.

Training Mornings – Wednesday and Saturdays 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.

  • Training slots will be limited to 50 horses per two-hour block.

  • Trainers must sign up in advance online using the online sign-up tool on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contact Dylan Allain, assistant race secretary, with any questions at [email protected].

  • All protocols listed in the document are in effect for morning training hours.

(Woodbine Entertainment)


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