Posted: March 31, 2020
Santa Anita Park, which suspended live racing after an order from the Los Angeles County Health Department, remains shuttered but said it continues to have “constructive dialogue” with government officials regarding health and safety measures it has in place during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The California track announced that the Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Oaks, which were scheduled for April 4, would be run later in the spring meet. The facility remains open for daily training and said that currently there are no known cases of COVID-19 at the track.
Santa Anita, like some other tracks in the United States, had been holding live racing programs since March 12 with no patrons on site and only essential personnel permitted on the grounds until the health department issued its order.
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“At Santa Anita Park, the health, safety and welfare of every person and every horse in our community remains our top priority,” the track said in a release. “We are continuing to have constructive dialogue with the Los Angeles County Health Department and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and her staff. In cooperation with our industry stakeholders, a proposal was submitted earlier this week which we believe was fully responsive to their requests. We have yet to receive a satisfactory response to that proposal.”
Santa Anita said it is trying to explain to county officials that the “consequences of closing down the economic engine that fuels the community makes the risks and potential issues significantly worse when racing is closed and only training allowed.”
Officials said more than 1,700 horses are stabled at Santa Anita, which is home to about 750 backstretch workers who mostly live on site and have been “operating under stringent new measures for protection aligned with the best guidance from local and international health and government authorities on COVID-19. We will continue to work with county health authorities to familiarize them with the protocols already in place and our plans to protect the health and safety of the community who works with the horses and calls Santa Anita home.”
Santa Anita is owned by The Stronach Group. Golden Gate Fields, the company’s other California track, continues to race with no patrons permitted. Among the other TSG tracks operating in similar fashion is Gulfstream Park in Florida.
(Santa Anita Park photo courtesy of Santa Anita)