Louisiana Judge’s Order Should Re-Open Racetracks For Morning Training

Three tracks across the state of Louisiana have not opened their racing surfaces for morning training for nearly four weeks now, but an order handed down this week by Judge Sharon Wilson of the 14th Judicial District Court will change that.

Training hours four days per week at Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, and Louisiana Downs are scheduled to commence on Monday, April 13, barring further legal action.

The Louisiana HBPA announced the judge’s decision on Thursday, April 9.

Back on March 20, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Louisiana State Racing Commission issued an emergency order with four parts: all licensed Louisiana tracks and training facilities shall 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.

Boyd Gaming, operator of both Delta and Evangeline, immediately agreed to comply with the first part of the commission’s order and allowed horsemen and horses to shelter in place, as did Caesar’s Entertainment, which operates Louisiana Downs. However, Boyd took issue with the other three parts and thus sought and was granted a temporary restraining order.

Louisiana Downs also refused to allow morning training, though it did not pursue legal action.

The Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La., has continued to offer morning training hours four days per week since cancelling racing on March 21.

Racing at all tracks in the state has been cancelled until further notice, but the racing commission, Louisiana HBPA and national HBPA worked in unison for several weeks to procure the resumption of training for local horsemen.

On April 6 the commission rescinded the third part of the emergency order, which dealt with horses and staff moving from track to track across the state.

Judge Wilson’s April 9 decision ordered Boyd’s temporary restraining order dissolved as to provisions two and four of the LSRC’s emergency order, meaning training is expected to re-start and NTRA guidelines are to be implemented. The third part of the order was not dealt with in Judge Wilson’s decision.

Boyd Gaming has not decided whether to pursue additional legal action, according to vice president of corporate communications David Strow.

“We’re going to look to comply with the order. Having staff there, we can do that,” Strow told the Blood-Horse. “Our concern right now is procuring protective equipment, things like gloves and masks that we would need to do this, that would be required by the commission order. That is obviously in very short supply right now. And to be quite honest, we’re concerned about diverting it from first responders and medical centers and hospitals. We’re doing our best to procure that equipment in this market.”

Horsemen at Louisiana Downs have also been told that training will resume on April 13.

The post Louisiana Judge’s Order Should Re-Open Racetracks For Morning Training appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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