By HRI Staff — Racing at the Fair Grounds, scheduled to continue through March 29, has been canceled. The Louisiana Derby, won by Wells Bayou from wire to wire, was the final race of the 2019-2020 meet.
“In accordance with the ‘stay-home’ order issued by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, following public health concerns in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fair Grounds Race Course will suspend live racing operations effective immediately.
The Fair Grounds Thoroughbred Racing Season was originally scheduled to run through March 29.
“Fair Grounds Race Course remains focused on the safety of members of the backside community who are vital to ensuring the care of the horses. In compliance with the Louisiana Racing Commission’s emergency order, we are committed to facilitating their safe and customary movement to tracks outside of New Orleans.
“Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is dedicated to doing our part to help fight this public health crisis. We regret any inconvenience this announcement may have caused our rans fans and will continue to coordinate closely with federal, state and local authorities to minimize exposure risk for those on our property.”
The Louisiana Racing Commission passed an emergency order on Friday guiding the movement and training of horses amidst the uncertainty of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Tracks are required to allow horsemen and horses to shelter in place without threat of eviction, allow horsemen access to tracks for training at least every other day, allow “customary movement” of horses between tracks, and implement guidelines from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. The NTRA’s guidance included reducing facility staffs to essential personnel, creating security access logs with in/out times, requiring temperature checks, designating housing areas for quarantine, increasing access to sanitation stations, and more.
Also, jockey Florent Geroux posted on Twitter a letter dictating new jockey protocols at Oaklawn Park. It states that jockeys riding at the Fair Grounds will not be allowed to ride at Oaklawn for the “remainder of the season.”