9/15/2020 (Updated 9/16/20)
(Auburn, WA) Emerald Downs administration and the Washington Horse Racing Commission have decided to play it safe and postpone Thursday’s races to Sunday the 2nd straight day of shifting race days. This is all due to air quality and as we reported yesterday there still has not been one reported case of covid in the barn area. There were reports of just 2 landscapers who tested positive but they were isolated and worked outside the track and were never in contact with those who work on the backside.
However, as well as the folks at the track have done in avoiding a Covid outbreak there is nothing they can do about the air quality. Both Emerald’s Publicity Director Joe Withee and the WHRC’s Doug Moore have made comments you will find in yesterday’s story below.
So here is this week’s schedule:
Wednesday’s original card will run Friday 1st race post is 2pm
Thursday’s original card will run Sunday 1st race post 2pm
Track officials confirm they hope they are back to their regular Wednesday-Thursday schedule next week.
(Yesterday’s Original Story)
Emerald Downs administration in conjunction with the State Racing Commission have cancelled the 10-race card set for Wednesday due to air quality concerns. Emerald Down Director of Publicity Joe Withee says “with the prediction that the air quality will get substantially better on Thursday the decision was made to cancel the card on Wednesday and move those 1`0 races to Friday.”
Withee says the administration and racing commission will monitor the situation on Thursday and hope with the later post time at 5pm that the air quality improves enough to race the scheduled evening card. The Wednesday card has been moved to Friday and it will remain intact as is so trainers do not have to re-enter and racing past performances already published will be good for the Friday card as is.
Withee says if the Thursday card or frankly any other cards have to be cancelled he is not sure if they would be re-scheduled and if they are when they would look to add any lost days. He says that will be a decision to make if and when the situation arises. He says the Emerald Administration and the State Racing Commission are committed to keeping everyone on track safe.
WHRC Executive Secretary Doug Moore told ESN the commission will officially vote tomorrow on the change and then they will discuss plans of action if any further dates need to be cancelled. Moore says the WHRC and Emerald officials are exceptionally serious about keeping everyone safe and healthy. Moore says they still have had no one working regularly on the backside, any jockeys or others involved in getting the races run test positive for Covid-19. Moore reminds us there have been about 250 people in the barn area since early February.
Moore says he is fairly confident the air quality will improve enough to run by Thursday night but says he and other racing officials will be monitoring the air quality closely and make decisions as needed. Thursday racing will begin at it’s usual 5pm start and the Friday card at 2pm. Racing next week will go back to the Wednesday-Thursday schedule.