Horse Racing in Florida Facing Pressure to Shut Down
One of the few sporting events that remains to take place amidst the coronavirus pandemic is horse racing. Gulfstream Park in Florida is one of the horse racing tracks that has continued to stay open, but some local government officials are starting to demand that the park be shut down.
Gulfstream Park is located in Hallandale Beach, and they are scheduled to host races again on Wednesday.
The government official that is demanding that the track be shut down is Hallandale Beach Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana. She feels that the track needs to listen to the executive order that all non-essential businesses be shut down to stop the spread of the disease.
An emergency order went into effect on Monday in Broward County, where the Gulfstream Park race track is located. Broward County has seen a large number of coronavirus cases over the last few days, forcing the emergency order.
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The Stronach Group owns and operates Gulfstream Park, and they have threatened to sue if they were forced to close down. Gulfstream Park has been holding all races without any fans in the grandstand, and they feel that they are abiding by the law and should be allowed to stay open.
One of the main reasons that the Stronach Group is planning on keeping Gulfstream Park open is because it is an important race in terms of the Kentucky Derby. The Florida Derby is set to take place on Saturday, and it is one of the most prestigious horse racing events that have yet to be postponed or canceled completely.
The Florida Derby is expected to draw some of the top Kentucky Derby horses, and there is a $1 million purse attached to the race. The Florida Derby is 1 1/8 miles long, and a horse by the name of Tiz the Law is expected to compete. Tiz the Law is one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby, which has been rescheduled for Sept. 5.
Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana is trying to gain support from other local government officials to shut the race track down. The Stronach Group has not yet commented on Javellana’s remarks, but the threat of legal action remains if they were to be closed.
Only a Few Horse Tracks Remain Open in the US
Even though horse racing is one of the few sports that remains to operate, there are only a select amount of racetracks open throughout the United States. Most racetracks chose to shut down on their own, while a few others were shut down by state and local governments.
Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields, both in California, are both expected to run races this weekend as well. The Stronach Group owns and operates these two facilities as well, and they have also received plenty of pressure to shut down their operations.
Horse race betting in California is a major part of the economy, which is one of the reasons that they have been allowed to remain open.
Fonner Park in Nebraska, Oak Lawn Park in Arkansas, Tampa Bay Downs in Florida, Turfway Park in Kentucky, and Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma are the only other tracks that are planning on running events this weekend.
Charles Town Races in West Virginia had plans to run a race this weekend, but they shut down operations on Tuesday. The decision came after West Virginia governor Jim Justice ordered that all non-essential businesses close. New Orleans saw Fair Grounds Race Course close over the weekend in an effort to abide by local law.