Following the most recent government order imposing new stay-at-home conditions, horse racing events in Ontario have been placed on hold once again. Woodbine Entertainment continues its push for the resumption of the live racing season, which was recently canceled. The horse industry leader has given the Mayor of Milton an official request to explore the possibility of reopening the tracks.
The live harness sport in Ontario has seen a lot of overwhelming in the last year, with many pauses and restarts of live races. The horse racing events recommenced a while ago in February and have been put on hold once again at the start of April with the new 28-day-stay-at-home order.
Woodbine Entertainment has sent a formal letter of request to Milton Gordon Krantz’s mayor in order to discuss the return of the live racing season and its importance for the region. First of all, the live harness leader prioritizes the safety of horsepeople and local communities in the letter, but is hopeful that racing will resume once the lockdown restrictions are lifted.
According to the corporation, the industry is severely harmed by the constant shifts in lockdown restrictions, which has resulted in many horse people relocating to the United States to participate in such events. There are worries that such pauses in the live racing season would harm the industry and its hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Greater Toronto Area and Halton region in long-term.
The industry’s live racing season must resume safely after the stay-at-home order is lifted later in May, as stated in the formal letter, since thousands of families in the province depend on the sector as a source of income. Furthermore, Woodbine Entertainment reported that it had very positive discussions with the Premier and the Halton Region regarding a request to allow live harness racing during lockdown.
The discussions focused on health and safety protocols, as well as the success of implementing mandatory protocols on horse racing premises in the provinces prior to their recent closure. After the industry’s relaunch in June 2020, the corporation claims that over 2,600 races have taken place without a single case of the unprecedented situation reported. The horse racing leader’s plan has received support from the provincial government and the local health department.
Following the latest lockdown order, Woodbine Entertainment provided an update on its Ontario horse racing facilities last week. Woodbine Mohawk Park has suspended exercises for the time being, and Woodbine Race Track in Etobicoke has also been shut down. As it currently stands it remains unknown whether the tracks will re-open after the order is lifted in May.
The new stay-at-home order has cancelled a number of races throughout the province. Ontario Racing has agreed to compensate the involved trainers and jockeys in the now-nulled competitions as a result of the events. For the cancelled races at Woodbine Mohawk Park, Western Fair District, and Rideau Carleton Raceway, a total of 310 horses will receive a one-time payment of CA$300.