After Louisiana Derby Card, Fair Grounds To Cancel Remainder Of Meet

by | 03.21.2020 | 1:06pm

Multiple sources told the Paulick Report on Saturday that the Fair Grounds plans to shut down racing starting on Sunday, March 22. A mass text sent to trainers prior to the start of Saturday's Louisiana Derby day card announced the news.

Racing at the Fair Grounds was scheduled to continue through March 29.

The Fair Grounds released the following statement at the conclusion of racing on Saturday:

“In accordance with the 'stay-home' order issued by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, following public health concerns in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fair Grounds Race Course will suspend live racing operations effective immediately. The Fair Grounds Thoroughbred Racing Season was originally scheduled to run through March 29.

“Fair Grounds Race Course remains focused on the safety of members of the backside community who are vital to ensuring the care of the horses. In compliance with the Louisiana Racing Commission's emergency order, we are committed to facilitating their safe and customary movement to tracks outside of New Orleans.

“Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is dedicated to doing our part to help fight this public health crisis. We regret any inconvenience this announcement may have caused our rans fans and will continue to coordinate closely with federal, state and local authorities to minimize exposure risk for those on our property.”

The Louisiana Racing Commission passed an emergency order on Friday guiding the movement and training of horses amidst the uncertainty of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Tracks are required to allow horsemen and horses to shelter in place without threat of eviction, allow horsemen access to tracks for training at least every other day, allow “customary movement” of horses between tracks, and implement guidelines from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. The NTRA's guidance included reducing facility staffs to essential personnel, creating security access logs with in/out times, requiring temperature checks, designating housing areas for quarantine, increasing access to sanitation stations, and more.

Also on Saturday, jockey Florent Geroux posted on Twitter a letter dictating new jockey protocols at Oaklawn Park. It states that jockeys riding at the Fair Grounds will not be allowed to ride at Oaklawn for the “remainder of the season.”

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