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Below is the resolution that was approved by the Ohio Racing Commission on 5/14/2020. The key phrase in it is that the racetracks MAY open their facilities for horseman. The resolution is just that, an approved resolution – not a directive. Headlines in local papers and websites are delivering the message that backstretch access and live racing will happen on specific dates, which is not the case.
In a conversation with Ohio H.B.P.A. Executive Director Dave Basler, he indicates that the door is now open now for spectator-free live racing at Thistledown and Belterra and the Racing Commission and H.B.P.A. have made their feelings very clear on the matter. Don’t load your horses on a van just yet, but know that each track is making sure the protocols will be in place and are expected to open in the weeks ahead. When that day comes, it will be announced to the horsemen immediately.
As you can imagine, there are many phases that have to be addressed. Staff for the racing office, officials, security and maintenance crew for the track and backside will have to be hired and trained to use the new protocols while performing their duties. There may be changes in the schedule of racing days and post times to best take advantages of exposure for racing coverage and Advanced Deposit Wagering.
There is a strong feeling that it won’t all come together overnight, but it WILL happen in the very near future. We need only to look at the tracks that have raced successfully under these new guidelines to see that it can work. May you all be safe and your horses sound.
OHIO STATE RACING COMMISSION RESOLUTION 2020-11(A)
WHEREAS, the Ohio State Racing Commission (“Commission”) has the authority under Revised Code 3769.06 to issue a permit to hold or conduct horse racing and the permit shall include the days upon which the horse racing is to be held or conducted;
WHEREAS, The Commission has issued a permit to Belterra Park Racetrack and JACKThistledown Racetrack to conduct Thoroughbred horse racing in 2020;
WHEREAS, The Commission has issued a permit to Scioto Downs Racetrack and Northfield Park Racetrack to conduct Standardbred horse racing in 2020;
WHEREAS, Since March 18, 2020, Thoroughbred horse racing and Standardbred horse racing has not been conducted in the State of Ohio due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
WHEREAS, The Commission desires to give permission to these permit holders when horse racing may resume in the State of Ohio; WHEREAS, To ensure the safety of all horse racing participants, the Commission has developed Protocols for a Safe Return to Racing without Spectators (“Protocols”) which are attached and incorporated by reference;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Commission that Belterra Park Racetrack and JACKThistledown Racetrack may open their facilities for horsemen and horses to move in including dormitories and to conduct training and workouts starting on May 16, 2020. Belterra Park Racetrack and JACKThistledown Racetrack may resume live horse racing starting on May 22, 2020. Belterra Park Racetrack and JACKThistledown Racetrack are subject to and shall comply with the Protocols;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Commission that Scioto Downs Racetrack and Northfield Park Racetrack may open their facilities for horsemen and horses to move in and to conduct training and qualifiers starting on May 16, 2020. Scioto Downs Racetrack and Northfield Park Racetrack may resume live horse racing starting on May 22, 2020. Scioto Downs Racetrack and Northfield Park Racetrack are subject to and shall comply with the Protocols;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Commission due to this unprecedented and very fluid situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission chairman and/or the commission executive director is hereby authorized to change the Protocols as circumstances dictate and they deem necessary without having to return to the commission for approval.