Woodbine Targeting Resumption On June 13, But ‘Green Light’ Could See Racing As Early As June 6

Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson is targeting a return of live Thoroughbred racing on June 13, he told on-air personality Jason Portuondo on Tuesday’s online Stronger Together video session. However, the track could be ready to go as soon as Saturday, June 6, depending on government permission.

“We’ve set a target date of June 13, but if given the green light we would also be ready to race on the 6th,” Lawson said, adding that harness racing at Mohawk is targeted to begin on June 12 with the possibility for June 5.

The 2020 live racing season at Woodbine was scheduled to kick off on April 18, but that was delayed due to Ontario’s Provincial Declaration of Emergency in lieu of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

A stakes schedule will be issued along with the first condition book within at least two weeks of the opening weekend, whether that’s June 6-7 or June 13-14, said Lawson. The plan is to start with two days the first week, then move to three days the following week, and finally to four days per week through the summer.

“We’re applying to race Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays,” said Lawson. “The thinking on the Thursdays is that Wednesday has always been a big food and beverage night for us, but we can’t do that now… it’s better for business, we’ll have more wagering on Thursday afternoon.”

Purses for overnight races are expected to remain the same, though stakes race purses may be adjusted.

The Queen’s Plate will be rescheduled, potentially for September, while the Woodbine Oaks and Plate Trial could be rescheduled for sometime in August.

Face coverings were mandated across the backstretch earlier this week. Owners will continue to not be allowed on the backstretch, and spectators may not be allowed until mid-fall at the earliest. Lawson said Woodbine will not consider extending the meet past its scheduled December end date.

This week, jockeys are being allowed on the Woodbine backstretch for the first time, starting gate schooling is scheduled to begin, and timed workouts will be recorded starting on Friday.

The post Woodbine Targeting Resumption On June 13, But ‘Green Light’ Could See Racing As Early As June 6 appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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