The provincial government of Ontario has just announced a new lockdown imposing order that will suspend all businesses for a 28-day period. The order came into power on April 8 at 12:01 a.m. As a result of that Woodbine Entertainment had two suspend operations of its live harness racing properties in Ontario.
The horse racing industry has already endured several lockdowns and re-openings for the last 12 months after the occurrence of the unprecedented situation. Previously training and races were renewed back in February but now are shut down again as the government is trying to contain the spread of the unprecedented situation.
No Horse Racing for a While
As a result of the new stay-at-home order, the horse racing leader has suspended training exercises at its Woodbine Mohawk Park. The corporation has stated that is currently in discussions with the health department about a potential reopening of the track for resuming of the Standardbred Racing season at the end of the order on May 6.
CEO of the live harness leader Jim Lawson stated this comes as difficult to swallow news for the Ontario property but the corporation will continue to back the provincial government’s decisions. He remains hopeful that the venue will receive permission to continue its live harness season after the lockdown order is lifted in May and if the season does not continue it will have devastating consequences to the wellbeing of the sport.
Another horse racing facility of Woodbine Entertainment in Ontario that has also suffered from the latest lockdown restrictions is the Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke. The racing regulator informed that the upcoming season will be delayed. The season was originally supposed to start on April 17 but as of right now the starting date remains unknown.
Horses from the track will be relocated to the Rexdale track, where they will be provided with stable, training, and regular care. Active training and timed workout will resume but the starting gate and the receiving barn will be shut down for 10 days. The Ontario government has denied Mr. Lawson’s claim that the training and the races are essentially led by the same group of people and races were still possible.
Another live harness leader of the province – Ontario Racing has recently issued a statement that will compensate horsepeople involved in the recently canceled races. A total of 310 horses will each receive a one-time payment of CA$300 for the nulled events at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Western Fair District, and Rideau Carleton Raceway.
Return of Historical Betting
Due to unfortunate circumstances of the last 12 months and the lockdown restrictions, President of Racetracks of Canada Bill Ford has proposed to reinstall the Historical Horse Racing. According to him, this will be a great way for the live harness tracks to generate some revenue while the races are suspended in the province. Fans of the sports will be then able to place online bets on previous events.
Source: “Training Suspended At Mohawk”, Standardbred Canada, April 7, 2021