Steve Buffery / Toronto Sun
The mood around Woodbine Racetrack has gone from sombre to hopeful.
Word came down on Tuesday night that Woodbine Entertainment had “productive conversations” with senior levels of the Government of Ontario regarding the possibility of being permitted to complete the 2020 thoroughbred meet at the Rexdale track.
Toronto and Peel Region went into a grey lockdown phase on Monday because of a spike in COVID-19 positive tests, which meant that horse racing is not allowed, though training is.
Woodbine officials have been pleading with the provincial government that it needs the final three weeks of racing to keep track employees from experiencing real financial hardship in the off-season. The next three weeks of racing would bring in $5.2 million in purse money.
Woodbine did a remarkable job in keeping the COVID-19 virus at bay this year. Since training started in March, and racing in June, there had been zero positive tests. A jockey tested positive last week, but he contracted the virus outside of the track.
Based on the timing of the ongoing conversations between Woodbine and the province, live racing on Thursday and Friday has been cancelled. Should the government make the decision that live racing is permitted to resume safely, Saturday would be the earliest date. This would require entries to be submitted on Thursday morning.
Furthermore, if Woodbine Entertainment is permitted to complete the 2020 Thoroughbred meet, it will endeavour to reschedule the cancelled races.
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