Santa Anita set to resume live racing

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Santa Anita race track was given the green light by California health officials to resume live horse racing on Friday with new safety measures in place.

The Los Angeles race track halted horse racing on March 27 because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Los Angeles County health officials gave permission for the track to reopen but without spectators.

"We are very grateful for the open and continuous communication with both the Health Department and supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office," said Aidan Butler, spokesman for California racing for The Stronach Group.

"Supervisor Barger in particular, understood the importance of live racing to support thousands of individuals, and that we are able to accomplish it safely under these protocols.

"This has been a difficult time for all. Now we are focused on getting back to work."

Employees will be required to wear face masks and undergo temperature checks on a regular basis. The winner's circle will be closed to follow social distancing guidelines.

The closure of Santa Anita, located 30 kilometres (18 miles northeast of Los Angeles) forced the postponement of the April 4 Santa Anita Derby, which is a tune-up for the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky was moved from May 2 to September 5.

The track is expected to operate three days a week.

There are 94 horses entered in Friday's races with no race having fewer than nine horses. The card features nine races.