TORONTO – A thoroughbred racing season that was delayed resulting from COVID-19 can also be ending prematurely due to the pandemic.
Woodbine Leisure has introduced that Sunday would be the closing day of the 2020 season. A number of races deliberate for Sunday have been cancelled resulting from climate, together with snow, fluctuating temperatures and blended precipitation.
Information of the truncated sesaon got here two days after the Ontario authorities revealed its new COVID-19 measures.
On Friday, the federal government moved Toronto and Peel Area — two COVID-19 sizzling spots — into lockdown. Meaning the shutdown of companies resembling salons and gymnasiums, whereas eating places will transfer to takeout solely and retail to curbside pickup.
The brand new restrictions come into impact at 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday.
The revamped 2020 thoroughbred season was slated to finish Dec. 13.
“We’ve been, and proceed to be, extraordinarily supportive of the Authorities’s efforts to scale back the unfold of COVID-19 all through our province and recognize the various troublesome selections they need to make,“ Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson mentioned in a press release Sunday. ”We’ve approached the federal government to clarify the impacts this determination could have on our enterprise and the horse racing business in Ontario.
“With a greater understanding of our operations and based mostly on our security document in working stay racing at our racetracks, we hope that the federal government will contemplate these impacts sooner or later and help us in managing the possibly devastating affect to horsepeople and animal welfare this early shutdown will trigger.”
Woodbine Leisure mentioned it has about 1,300 staff both briefly or completely laid off on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. It added this shutdown additionally negatively impacts the about 2,000 horsepeople on the Woodbine backstretch, placing lots of them out of labor.
“Since we began racing at Woodbine and Mohawk Park in early June, we’ve got demonstrated that racing with out spectators poses no larger well being threat to individuals than coaching,” Lawson mentioned. “We’ve been a frontrunner in well being and security because the starting of the pandemic and we’re extraordinarily pleased with our document and the co-operation of our racing individuals in sustaining secure racing environments.”
Underneath the brand new restrictions, horses can practice solely with out spectators and never run in precise races. Whereas there’s been racing at Woodbine since June, all occasions have been performed with out followers within the stands.
The beginning of Woodbine’s 2020 racing seasons — thoroughbred and standardbred — have been delayed for a number of weeks because of the international pandemic earlier than being allowed to start on June 5.
Standardbred racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbelleville, Ont., which additionally started June 5, will proceed. That observe is positioned roughly 64 kilometres west of Toronto and outdoors of the lockdown boundaries.
This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Nov. 22, 2020.