Horse racing events have been put on hold in Ontario once again, after the most recent government order that imposes new stay-at-home conditions. Woodbine Entertainment continues its push for the resume of the recently-canceled live racing season. The horse industry leader has sent an official request to the Mayor of Milton in order to discuss the possibility of reopening tracks.
The last 12 months have been rather overwhelming for the live harness sport in the Ontario province with several pauses and restarts of the live races. The horse racing events recommenced a while ago in February and have been put on hold once again at the start of April with the new 28-day-stay-at-home order.
A formal letter of request has been sent to the mayor of Milton Gordon Krantz by Woodbine Entertainment in order to discuss the resume of the live racing season and its importance for the region. First of all, in the letter, the live harness leader puts the safety of horse people and local communities in the first place but is hopeful that races can resume after lockdown restrictions expiry.
According to the corporation the industry is greatly hurt by the constant changes surrounding the lockdown restrictions leading to many horse people relocating to the United States in order to participate in such events. There are concerns that such pauses of the live racing season can lead to long-term harm to the industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that it provides in the Greater Toronto Area and in the Halton region.
As stated in the formal letter it is of utmost importance for the industry live racing season to safely resume after the stay-at-home order is lifted later in May since thousands of families in the province rely on the sector as an occupation. Additionally, Woodbine Entertainment stated that it had very positive talks with the Premier and the Halton Region in a request to permit live harness races during lockdown conditions.
The discussions outlined the health and safety protocols and the success of the implementation of the mandatory protocols on the horse racing premises in the provinces until the recent closure. The corporation claims that over 2,600 races have taken place since June 2020 restart of the industry without a single case of the unprecedented situation reported. The provincial government and the local health department have backed the horse racing leader in its initiative.
Update on Properties
Last week Woodbine Entertainment provided an update on its Ontario horse racing facilities after the new lockdown order. For the time being Woodbine Mohawk Park has officially suspended exercises, and Woodbine Race Track in Etobicoke has also been shut down. As it currently stands it remains unknown whether the tracks will re-open after the order is lifted in May.
Numerous races in the province have been canceled by the recent stay-at-home order. In light of the events, Ontario Racing has decided to provide compensation for the involved trainers and jockeys in the now-nulled competitions. A total of 310 horses will be granted a one-time payment of CA$300 for the canceled races at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Western Fair District, and Rideau Carleton Raceway.
Source: “Woodbine Continues Push To Race” Standardbred Canada, April 10, 2021