HomeThe ShuffleThese Racetracks Are Still Running, Sans Fans

These Racetracks Are Still Running, Sans Fans

At least for now, horses and jockeys are running before empty stands, and only at some tracks. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of the action.

Who’s in and who’s out?

It’s a vexing question for horse-racing handicappers. The list of racetracks that are open or closed changes almost daily due to the impact of the coronavirus. Decisions are being made not only by the tracks, but by local and state governments.

The good news is that some tracks are running—and some may be all you need. Check in on the day of scheduled race cards to see if your track’s a go.

Who’s Open?
At this writing, Gulfstream Park in Florida is open. Its Championship Meet ended March 29, and the next racing session opens this week. Live racing will take place Thursday through Sunday every week through September 27 (except for holidays) during the 2020 Spring-Summer Meet.

This segment of dates normally has reduced purse money and fewer top trainers and jockeys, although it’s a reasonably decent level of competition.

But these days, there’s a wrinkle that will be interesting to follow. The nation’s top riders usually leave Gulfstream after the Championship Meet, heading to places like Keeneland in Kentucky and Belmont Park in New York.

But the Keeneland Spring Meet has been canceled, and Belmont’s status is uncertain. As a result, some of those top trainers and jockeys may stay at Gulfstream, which would add to the quality of the Spring-Summer Meet.

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Meanwhile, Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, Golden Gate Fields in San Francisco and Remington Park in Oklahoma City also are open. The horses will run before empty stands, but tracks are relying on online gamblers to provide the action.

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Bottom line, this is a good time to focus on what’s available, rather than what’s missing. There’s still hope that the Triple Crown races—the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes—postponed from their May-June cycle—will be conducted in the fall.

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Dave Bontempo, a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, has covered sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, HBO and Showtime and called boxing matches on every major network. Dave is a winner of the Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence given by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and is a member of both the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame. He writes regularly for iGamingPlayer.com and Global Gaming Business magazine.

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