‘It Feels So Different’ Without Fans: Racing Participants Thankful Gulfstream ‘Doing The Right Thing’

If a horse wins a race and no one is there to see it, did the horse really win?

Yes, as far as trainer Michael Yates is concerned. Yates saddled De Pura Sangre for a victory in Race 1 at Gulfstream Park, where a 10-race program was conducted as scheduled but without the public in attendance.

“It’s very odd. When I walked in [the winner’s circle] and everything is quiet, I said [to myself], ‘And the crowd goes wild!’” Yates said with a chuckle. “But it doesn’t matter if there are two people in the field, you win the race, you win the race.”

With the utmost regard for the safety and well-being of its customers and employees and in following the best available guidance from local and international health authorities concerning COVID-19, Gulfstream Park has been temporarily closed to the public for racing and simulcasting.

Of course, many racing fans were able to watch De Pura Sangre ($6.40) win on the 1/ST Bet and Xpressbet apps, as well as live streaming on gulfstreampark.com.

A total of $906,973 was wagered on Race 1.

The stands and track apron were virtually empty, but that didn’t stop Luis Saez from continuing his winning ways Friday, scoring back-back-wins aboard September Ten ($3.60) in Race 2 and Blue Blue Ice ($5.80) in Race 3.

“It’s way different. It feels so different, you know? It’s a little sad. This is the sport we love and we love to see people screaming and making us feel very important,” Saez said. “I know everybody is watching us, but we have to deal with it. Definitely, it’s wonderful that they do this because right now we’ve been through a lot and they’re being very safe for us and everybody. That’s the most important thing.”

Tyler Gaffalione, who rode in Race 2, said he felt the absence of the public before and after the race.

“The only time you really notice is in the paddock and when you’re walking back after a race, but for the most part it’s a normal day,” Gaffalione said. “This is a whole new scenario. We’re just taking precautionary measures to be sure everybody’s safe and healthy and hopefully this all clears over quickly.”

Gaffalione said the jockeys received ‘a quick examination’ prior to riding.

“Today they brought us in for a quick examination before we started riding, take our temperature, blood pressure and all that kind of stuff just to make sure there’s no issues there,” he said. “We’re taking all the precautionary measures and credit to Gulfstream Park for doing the right thing.”

Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who has ridden 7,054 winners, said he remained focused while riding in Race 1.

“We go out there and mind our business. We all have a common goal and that’s trying to win a race, regardless of whether there’s people there or who they’re betting. It’s our job, and we get paid to win,” Prado said. “It doesn’t affect me; I don’t know if it affects anyone else in the jockey’s room. We’re trying to deal with it, and hopefully it doesn’t take long. It’s good [to take precautions] and hopefully it doesn’t get any worse and we continue with racing and our lives in a normal way.”

The post ‘It Feels So Different’ Without Fans: Racing Participants Thankful Gulfstream ‘Doing The Right Thing’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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