Santa Anita has become the latest track to cancel racing due to the novel coronavirus. Prompted by local authorities, the track announced the decision early Friday afternoon:
In accordance with instructions received from Los Angeles County Health Department, Santa Anita Park will temporarily close for live racing effective immediately in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We apologize for the late notice affecting today’s racing program, but Santa Anita is abiding by the instructions issued this morning by the California Horse Racing Board to operate under the sanction of the local health authorities.
At Santa Anita Park, the health, safety and welfare of every person and every horse in our community is our top priority. At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Santa Anita Park. This measure is being taken in response to a mandate from LA County officials.
At Santa Anita Park, there are over 1,700 horses stabled who require daily care. That care is provided by the 750 backstretch team members, most who live on-site and have been operating under stringent new measures for protection aligned with the best guidance from local and international health and government authorities on COVID-19. The track has been closed to the general public and to closed all but essential personnel since March 12, 2020.
We will continue to work with authorities to familiarize them with the protocols which have been put in place to protect the health and safety of those who work with the horses and the horses themselves.
We look forward to the return of live racing at Santa Anita as soon as approval is received from local regulators.
The Santa Anita shuttering follows in the wake of Aqueduct’s suspension of live racing, the ending of the Fair Grounds and Turfway Park meets, the cancellation of the entire spring meet at Keeneland, and the postponing of the Kentucky Derby (G1) to September 5, to mention just some of the coronavirus ramifications on American racing. To be determined is the status of the remaining stakes schedule, highlighted by the Santa Anita Derby (G1) originally set for April 4.
For a list of track cancellations including harness and international racing, see the link at TwinSpires.com.