Even if it doesn’t happen as quickly as the remaining three of four major circuits would like, plans signaling the resumption of racing at Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Santa Anita Park have cleared the drawing board stage.
With the New York Racing Association hoping to open Belmont Park on May 22. In a response to New York Gov Andrew Cuomo’s comments on Wednesday that cast doubt on the opening of Saratoga this summer, NYRA repeated the message that racing is uniquely qualified to resume without attendees.
In Kentucky, also on Wednesday, Churchill Downs Racetrack received approval from Commonwealth officials to reopen its stable areas at both Churchill Downs Racetrack and its Trackside training center on May 11 under stringent health guidelines that would mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
Santa Anita Park, meanwhile, will publish a condition book today, hopeful to resume racing on May 15 under what likely will be the strictest health protocols in the industry, if not the country.
Of course, should racing resume at these venues, it will be spectator-free. Santa Anita published its condition book hoping it will allow time for horsemen to prepare for a possible May 15 resumption. Management had stated previously it would need two weeks for logistical preparation.
All these events are predicated on whether the states hit their metrics in stopping, or even lowering, the spread of coronavirus. However, a number of states have opened slowly even without meeting their standards, turning a serious health crisis into a political campaign football.
As with everything these days, any reopening comes down to three letters: TBD.