Covid-19 and Horse Racing. Some Fans Allowed at Oaklawn Park

Oaklawn 2019 - The Inside TrackPursuant to the Arkansas Department of Health directive, Oaklawn plans to conduct the 2021 live meet with limited spectators. The 57-day season runs from Friday, Jan. 22 – Saturday, May 1.

“We’ve been working on plans covering numerous scenarios and we’re happy to announce we will be welcoming back race fans in 2021, albeit on a limited basis,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “We know that the fans are what make Oaklawn so special, but our main concern is for the safety and well-being of our guests and team members. We appreciate the support we have received from the Arkansas Department of Health in developing this plan. We will be working with them throughout the live season and will adjust as needed.”

In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Arkansas Department of Health, Oaklawn has submitted a plan to allow a limited number of spectators at the races during the 2021 live race meet highlighted by the following:

• General admission into the Grandstand will not be allowed initially in 2021.
• Entrance into the Grandstand will strictly be for guests with a racing credential and/or reservation for that day’s races. Doors will open at 11 am.
• Current seasonal box seat holders and current Oaklawn Jockey Club members may enter the Grandstand with weekly reservations required. Detailed correspondence to be sent separately to these individuals.
• Restaurants inside the Grandstand, following Arkansas Department of Health directives, will be open to the public with weekly reservations required.
• Simulcast will be open Wednesday–Sunday, 11 am–8 pm to limited capacity with weekly reservations required.
• Social distancing will be enforced.
• All guests and team members will be required to have non-invasive temperature checks as they enter the facility. Anyone presenting a temp at/over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted inside the building.
• All guests and team members will be required to wear masks at all times.
• Smoking will not be allowed anywhere inside the facility, including the casino.

Restaurant reservations may be made starting January 18 by calling 501-363-4710.

Simulcast reservations may be made starting January 18 by calling 501-363-4320.

For additional details and future updates, please visit oaklawn.com.

Source: Oaklawn Park

Woodbine’s 2020 Horse Racing Season Ends Abruptly

Woodbine via WO FB pageThe suburban Toronto track was hit with a double whammy during the weekend — a government shutdown order because of the [Covid-19] pandemic that forced cancellation of the final three weeks of the meeting, and then a winter storm that eliminated half of Sunday’s unexpected closing day program.

The lost races included the Grade III Grey Stakes for 2-year-olds and the Grade III Mazarine Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, both with some very promising youngsters.

Canada’s premier track did manage to provide a pretty spectacular sendoff, though, with a flurry of graded stakes Saturday.

Saturday’s $150,000 Grade III Ontario Derby had the winners of all three Triple Crown races in the field of eight but it was Kentucky invader Field Pass who got the spoils…

Racing at Golden Gate Fields Postponed till December 3rd

Golden gate turf breakWith the continued regard for the safety and well-being of 1/ST RACING employees, those working on the backstretch and the community at large, and in following the best guidance from local health authorities, Golden Gate Fields’ leadership has decided to continue its suspension of live racing through November.

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Golden Gate Fields has implemented stringent health and safety measures including, strict social distancing, masking policies and regular COVID-19 testing with isolation requirements for any positive cases or identified close contacts.

On November 13, Golden Gate Fields announced a one-week temporary closure to address a COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, all track facilities have undergone thorough cleaning and track-wide COVID-19 testing has been administered to all 1/ST RACING employees and to all those who work on the backstretch. All testing data have been shared with the Berkeley Public Health Division (BPHD).

All positive cases are overseen by the BPHD through their case managers. Positive cases are required to isolate as per BPHD protocols and are not able to return to Golden Gate Fields until health clearance has been provided by the BPHD.

The 1,300 horses stabled onsite will continue to receive the daily care and exercise they require.

Golden Gate Fields will continue to monitor the situation in collaboration with the BPHD and will look forward to resuming live racing with the announcement of a reopening date as soon as possible.

For more information please visit www.goldengatefields.com or @GGFRacing.

When is the Melbourne Cup in Australia?

The Race That Stops a Nation is typically held on the first Tuesday in November and, despite the craziness of 2020, there is no exception this year.  As of right now, however, here are no fans expected at Flemington racecourse on November 3, 2020 for the Melbourne Cup or the Victoria Racing Carnival.

The classic field will be capped at 24 horses, contested at 3200 meters, and the purse is a whopping $8M.  Thinking about playing the Cup?  Here are 3 handicapping strategies for betting on Australian horse racing.

What is the Breeders’ Cup schedule at Keeneland?

See how the Melbourne Cup will work during this Covid-19 pandemic:

Maryland Racing Industry at Crossroads

Total wagering on the rescheduled, closed-door Preakness Stakes program at Pimlico last Saturday was down nearly 50% from its 2019 renewal, a pandemic-impacted decline similar to that experienced at the Kentucky Derby, which was moved from May to September.

Even in pre-pandemic times, a majority of wagering on horse racing is conducted online, through legal betting platforms like BetPTC.com, TwinSpires, TVG and Xpressbet. Since March, almost all wagering comes via these channels. Betting in person has grown increasingly rare in the internet era, and even more so in 2020. For perspective, of the $369 million bet on races at Laurel Park in 2019, the Maryland Racing Commission’s annual report records that $350.2 million, nearly 95%, came from bettors outside of Maryland…

When is the Breeders’ Cup?

Keeneland clock racingIs the Breeders’ Cup Cancelled?

The good news is that the race goes on with the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.  The popular, annual event features purses worth over $31 million with race horses coming from all over the world to compete.  The dates are Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8 at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, KY.

The bad news concerning the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland is that, just like many other sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans will not be in attendance.

Top trainers with horses that will play a major factor include Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher and Aidan O’Brien.

Horseplayers can view all of the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup prep race videos here.  Start handicapping now as the two cards are not easy to decipher.  Follow additional Breeders’ Cup news and notes right here on agameofskill.com

 

 

Belmont Park Fall Dates and Stakes

Belmont Park GrandstandThe New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has announced race dates for the 27-day Belmont fall meet, including 38 stakes worth $5.58 million in purse money, that will kick off on Friday, September 18 and run through Sunday, November 1.

Following opening weekend at Belmont, live racing will be conducted Thursday through Sunday with the exception of Columbus Day weekend, when live racing will be offered on Monday, October 12 and return on Friday, October 16.

The Belmont Park fall meet has traditionally opened on the Friday following Labor Day. Due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, NYRA adjusted the fall schedule by adding a one-week break following the conclusion of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course.

Check out Handicapping Tip of the Day #61 – Analyzing Layoff Race Horses

“This new fall schedule is the result of a collaborative effort between NYRA, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders to modify our racing calendar in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the industry,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke. “I’d like to thank the horsemen and breeders for their common-sense approach to solving the challenges brought about by this unprecedented public health crisis.”

The fall meet at Belmont Park will be highlighted by 22 graded stakes, featuring seven Grade 1 events and seven Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers to the two-day Breeders’ Cup 2020 World Championships to be held November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course.

Stakes action will commence Opening Day with the $80,000 Miner’s Mark at 1 1/2-miles on Big Sandy for 3-year-olds and up leading into the first of the meet’s Grade 1 events the following day with the $250,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, the second leg of the Turf Triple series for 3-year-old fillies in a 1 ¼-mile turf test on Saturday, September 19.

The following Saturday will be highlighted by the Grade 2, $150,000 Vosburgh, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up offering a berth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The September 26 card is bolstered by the Grade 3, $100,000 Noble Damsel at one-mile on the turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

The Thursday, October 1 card offers the $100,000 Joseph A. Gimma, a seven-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies as the first of 10 stakes races restricted to New York-breds at the meet. It’s counterpart, the $100,000 Bertram F. Bongard also at seven furlongs on the main track will be held October 2.

Five graded races will highlight the Saturday, October 3 card, led by the Grade 1, $250,000 Belmont Derby Invitational, second leg of the Turf Triple series for males, a 10-furlong turf test offering a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. The card is bolstered by the Grade 1, $250,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at 12 furlongs on the turf for 3-year-olds and up; the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at 6 ½-furlongs for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up; the Grade 2, $150,000 Kelso Handicap, a one-turn mile for 3-years-old and up; and the Grade 2, $150,000 Pilgrim for 2-year-ols at 1 1/16-miles on the turf.

The following day will showcase an additional three graded events on October 4 led by the Grade 2, $150,000 Beldame at nine furlongs for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up; The Grade 2, $150,000 Miss Grillo for juvenile fillies; and the Grade 3, $100,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and up.

Columbus Day Weekend beginning Saturday, October 10 and ending on Monday, October 12, will feature nine graded events worth $1.65 million, including four Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” challenge races on Saturday led by the $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, a 1 ¼-mile test offering a berth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Saturday, October 10, card is bolstered by the Grade 1, $250,000 Champagne, won last year by Belmont Stakes and Runhappy Travers hero Tiz the Law, at one-mile for 2-year-olds providing a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. A loaded card also includes the Grade 1, $250,000 Flower Bowl at 10-furlongs for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up with a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on the line; the Grade 1, $250,000 Frizette, a one-turn mile for juvenile fillies offering a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; and the Grade 2, $150,000 Sands Point for sophomore fillies at one mile on the turf.

Sunday, October 11 will feature the Grade 3, $100,000 Futurity, a six-furlong turf sprint offering a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint; and the Grade 3, $100,000 Matron for juvenile filly turf sprinters.

The Grade 2, $150,000 Hill Prince for sophomore turf milers and the Grade 2, $150,000 Knickerbocker, a nine-furlong turf test for 3-year-olds and up on Columbus Day Monday will close out the lucrative weekend.

The spotlight will focus on the Empire State on Saturday, October 24 when the best New York-breds gather at Belmont Park for Empire Showcase Day. An annual celebration of all things New York, the Empire Showcase Day card will offer eight stakes worth $1.2 million topped by the $175,000 Empire Classic at 1 1/8 miles.

Closing weekend will feature five stakes combined from October 31 – November 1, led by the Grade 3, $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap on Saturday. Sunday’s Closing Day will offer the $80,000 Pumpkin Pie and the $80,000 Chelsey Flower.

New York state currently requires all racetracks to operate without spectators in attendance to combat the spread of COVID-19. NYRA will issue updated guidance regarding COVID-19 health and safety protocols for jockeys, trainers and owners in the near future.

Source: New York Racing Association

Turf Paradise Cancels Fall/Winter Meet

Turf Paradise will not run its 2020-21 meet due to challenges related to COVID-19, track representatives told the Arizona Racing Commission in a video conference Aug. 13. The Arizona track has traditionally run a meet from the fall through early May.

Turf Paradise announced last month that it planned to run a shortened season, but a previously-proposed 121-day meet that was to begin Nov. 1 was scrapped early during the commission meeting by track representatives. The track last raced March 10, an early ending to its 2019-20 meet.

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Alabama Stakes Set for August 15 at the Spa

 

The year 2020 will be the only time the Travers has been run before the Kentucky Derby and the only time The Alabama has been run before the Kentucky Oaks.

By Art Parker

Like the Travers Stakes, the Alabama Stakes is one of the great historic races held annually at Saratoga. Like the Travers it is run at 1 ¼ miles and usually one week before it. This year the Alabama will be run on August 15th, a week after the Travers due to COVID-19 rescheduling. The Alabama is restricted to three year old fillies.

walking horse through Saratoga crowdThe Alabama was first run in 1872 making it one of the oldest races for females in America and the longest continuously run stakes race for three year old fillies. The race is named in honor of William Cottrell of Alabama. The race is named in honor of the Confederate Captain who was heavily involved with thoroughbred racing and breeding before and after his service in the Civil War. When approached by the Saratoga Association in 1872 about having a race named in his honor, he declined and requested the race instead be named for his home state of Alabama. Cottrell used his activity in racing to help and mend relations between the North and the South after the Civil War.

While the Kentucky Oaks stands as the female version of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the Alabama is the female edition of the Travers Stakes, which is open to all 3-year-olds at Saratoga.

The great filly Go For Wand set the stakes record in 1990 for the Alabama at 2:00 4/5 minutes.

Jockeys Jorge Velasquez, Jerry D. Bailey and Mike Smith have all won five Alabama Stakes.

Many great fillies have won the Alabama such as:  Elate, Songbird, Royal Delta, Silverbulletday, Heavenly Prize, Sky Beauty, Open Mind, Shuvee, Gamely, Vagrancy and Beldame to name a few.

Only four fillies and have ever won the Kentucky Oaks and the Alabama Stakes: Open Mind, Make Sail, Princess of Sylmar and Blind Luck.

The year 2020 will be the only time the Travers has been run before the Kentucky Derby and the only time The Alabama has been run before the Kentucky Oaks.

The purse for the 2020 Alabama is $600,000.

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NTRA Statement on the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC)

NTRA NHC logoSource: NTRA and the NHC Players Committee

August 4, 2020
The health, safety and well being of our guests and employees, as well as everyone else involved, is our utmost consideration as we ponder a return to Bally’s Las Vegas for the 2021 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). We understand that some of you are anxious to know what impact COVID-19 may have on an event that has become a mainstay on the Thoroughbred racing calendar and an annual goal for many horseplayers each winter since 2000. Even though we are still nearly 200 days away from our event, and our hope is to host a record-setting event at Bally’s Las Vegas in 2021, be assured that we fully recognize that a pandemic that has impacted virtually every facet of our daily lives may very well impact the 2021 NHC.
We are working with our colleagues at Bally’s on a number of contingencies to address what obviously is an ever-changing and fluid situation. Everything is on the table. Our goal is to determine a path forward and communicate plans for the 2021 NHC by early November, if not sooner. In the meantime, the NHC Tour, with a heavier than usual dose of online opportunities predicated by current events, continues through January 23. An estimated 350 NHC berths remain up for grabs as we move toward what is shaping up to be the richest NHC in history. Stay tuned for further updates and, as always, thank you for your ongoing support of the NHC.
Stay safe,
Keith Chamblin
Chief Operating Officer
NTRA