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Lawson Hoping For June Return

Published: May 5, 2020 10:04 am ET

Last Comment: May 8, 2020 12:56 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In the wake of the Ontario Government announcing the slight loosening of COVID-19 protocols, Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson has been cited as conveying that he is cautiously optimistic that live horse racing could return without fans as early as June.

"The big proviso is we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, governmental and health authorities because that's the wrong thing to do," Lawson has been quoted as saying in an article that has been published on "But I do think if restrictions are eased, we've shown and exhibited already we're capable of doing this.

"Not only did live racing occur at [Woodbine Mohawk Park] without gatherings, but with what we've achieved in our backstretch (at Woodbine Racetrack) the last two months, we feel comfortable we can conduct safe racing. And when you combine safe racing with 15,000-20,000 people whose livelihoods really depend on this, we feel we're a good model to help kick-start the economy."

In the article, Lawson spoke specifically about some social distancing measures that are planned for Mohawk and Woodbine when the return to racing ultimately occurs.

"I think one key factor is that in starting, the additional personnel required is minimal, including for example the potential use of remote judges... all we really need to do is bring jockeys on and we're already physically making construction changes to our jockeys' room like in/out doors and separate cubicles. On the Standardbred side, we're ordering trailers to have physical distancing amongst the drivers."

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

(With files from

May 8, 2020 - 12:56 pmIf Fla. gave Tampa permission

Mike Mobley SAID...

If Fla. gave Tampa permission to extend its meet, then it makes even less sense that Pompano Park was shut down in mid-March and remains closed today. Something isn't right.

May 6, 2020 - 3:14 pmTampa Bay not closed - meet

Don Patrick SAID...

Tampa Bay not closed - meet extended.
Churchill Downs opens May 16.

May 5, 2020 - 3:44 pmWhen it comes to racing

Mike Mobley SAID...

When it comes to racing during the pandemic, harness racing definitely drew the short end of the stick. Even with Oaklawn Park and Tampa Bay Downs closing last weekend, there are still 3 thoroughbred tracks, (Gulfstream Park, Will Rogers Downs, and Fonner Park) 2 quarter horse tracks, (Los Alamitos Race Course and Remington Park) and 1 greyhound track (Palm Beach Kennel Club) still operating in the States. In fact, PBKC runs full 15-race cards 7 days a week! Meanwhile, we haven't been able to watch and wager on a harness race held in North America since March! Is this fair?

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