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Ontario Horse Racing Continues Under Restrictions

Ontario has started the new 2022 year with a bang, as on Monday, January 3, the Provincial Government informed that it will be implementing new health and safety restrictions. The new protocols come into effect on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, and will directly affect several sectors such as the province’s horse racing industry.

The Government of Ontario has opted to quickly react to the rapidly increasing cases of the unprecedented situation in the province, which has been the cause to an alarming rate of hospitalizations. The new restrictions start this Wednesday and are on schedule to be in power for at least 21 days, depending on the health and health system indicators.

Back to Step Two

After the announcement from the provincial government, on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, at 12:01 a.m. Ontario will enter Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. The stage, however, has been remodified to a slightly different version of the previous Step Two. As of right now, the new protocols should be lifted on January 26, 2022, at the earliest, but this could be subject to change.

The new health and safety protocols require businesses such as horse racing tracks to operate under limited capacity to protect staff and patrons from the unprecedented situation. Indoor areas must remain closed down for patrons. While outdoor ones should function under restrictions, such as mandatory reservations, maximum spectators of 50% from the maximum volume of the track.

Additionally, in order for Ontarians to gain entry to one of the province’s race tracks with a capacity of 20,000 or more after the implementation of the new protocols, they will need to present proof of full vaccination for the virus. Further details about the reopening of the indoor venues at the province’s tracks will be provided by the government in the coming weeks.

2022 Schedule Now Approved

More recent news from Ontario’s live harness racing industry saw the confirmation about the 2022 live racing season’s schedule across the horse racing facilities in the province. The last third batch of dates for both Standardbred and Thoroughbred races was announced on December 23, 2021, by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The new dates are for Leamington Raceway, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Woodbine Racetrack.

After the recent confirmation from the AGCO, Leamington Raceway is to host a total of 13 racing dates, with post times of 1 p.m. Woodbine Mohawk Park in Milton, is set to have a total of 222 racing days of Standardbred racing days next year, starting at 7:00 p.m., except 6:30 p.m., Sunday, June 19, 1:00 p.m., Monday, December 26, 2022, while Woodbine Racetrack comes with 133 dates.

Thoroughbred Season Review

Also, in December 2021, Woodbine Entertainment published its 2021 performance review for its Thoroughbred season at Woodbine Racetrack. Despite the unfavorable circumstances, the 2021 season was quite a success for the company, which recorded its third-largest all-source handle worth CA$505,348,339. Most of which stems from the foreign wagering handle of CA$420,666,755.

Source: “Ontario Reinstates COVID-19 Restrictions”, Standardbred Canada, January 3, 2021