The state of California has taken some drastic measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and they are all but forcing residents to stay inside their homes. Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide shelter in place order earlier this week, but he did say that some people and businesses are excluded from the order.
While the order did not specifically note that horse racing was allowed to continue, that is exactly what happened on Friday at Santa Anita.
Horse racing plays a large role in the economy of the state of California, and that is the number one reason that they were allowed to continue. Race track leaders from Santa Anita met with state government officials before deciding that it was okay to continue racing as scheduled.
Racing at the Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley also continued on Friday as well. Golden Gate Fields is a sister race track of Santa Anita.
Both racetracks have taken some precautions in the last few weeks. There are no longer any fans allowed to be in the grandstands during the races, and they have taken extra precautions to take care of the workers at both locations.
Track officials have decided that horse racing is vital in an attempt to protect the animals. Santa Anita was also in the news almost a year ago to the date, but it was for a much worse reason.
The racetrack was shut down for three weeks after almost 20 horses died in a two-month span at the racetrack.
All Proceeds Going to Charity
The Stronach Group operates both facilities in the state of California that are continuing to race, and they are planning on donating all proceeds and profits to charity during this time. The money will go to a select charity or charities that are working to combat the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping through California and the rest of the country.
Even though the racetracks won’t make any money from fans attending the upcoming races, both racetracks have contracts with national television stations. Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports Network were both planning to broadcast the Saturday races to a live national audience.
TVG will also stream the races through their online betting site and mobile app.
Horse Racing Shut Down in Maryland
The same company that owns both the Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields racetracks in California also owns racetracks in the state of Maryland. Laurel Park is one of those locations, and they were forced to shut down after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan gave an executive order to shelter in place.
Laurel Park was able to make their own decision in choosing to shut down horse racing the foreseeable future, but horse racing does continue in other parts of the country. All horse racing must be done without the presence of fans throughout the United States.
Some jockeys have decided to take matters into their own hands, and they are starting to step away from the sport amid fear of contracting the coronavirus. Jamaican jockey Rajiv Maragh currently rides horses down in Florida, but he announced on Twitter that he plans to step away to spend some time with his family.
Major horse racing events such as the Kentucky Derby have already been postponed, and it is unclear when fans will be allowed back in the stands.