Why Tracks Keep Operating in the Face of COVID-19

04.13.20

Donna Brothers discusses this, how to support the backstretch broader community, with Laffit Pincay and fellow jockey Gary Stevens

Our strategic advisor Donna Brothers spoke to Laffit Pincay and fellow jockey Gary Stevens on Fox Sports’s America’s Day at the Races this past Sunday to explain why racetracks continue to operate during the pandemic—and what the Coalition is doing to support the racing community and those serving in the fight against COVID-19.

While other sports and businesses have been forced to suspend operations, racing tracks and their respective regulators are making decisions about whether to continue live, televised racing without fans in the stands. But even tracks that aren’t racing, aren’t technically “closed” either. As Donna points out in her in her interview with Pincay and Stevens, horses there need to be cared for on a daily basis: They need to be fed two-to-three times a day; they need gallons of water; they need regular maintenance, including shoeing, grooming, and stall cleaning, along with joint inspections and care; and they need to be exercised. Many of the backstretch workers who are responsible for the animals’ care, too, live onsite at the track—meaning they don’t have to commute and can limit person-to-person contact.

With tracks having to maintain operations despite the properties being closed to the public, Coalition tracks have been supporting numerous backstretch-community and track-chaplaincy initiatives. The horsemen, backstretch workers, track employees, farriers, and vets are on the front lines of the effort to keep equine athletes safe and healthy; and our members are committed taking all necessary measures to protect them—through increased safety protocols, access to healthcare, and the provision of food and other support mechanisms—as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen to Donna’s interview below—and follow @TBredSafety on Twitter for more.