Charles Town cancels March 19 card

by | Mar 19, 2020 | Breaking, Business, West Virginia, WV Business

Jockey J. D. Acosta gives a fist pump as Lady T N T wins the G3 Charles Town Oaks. Photo by Coady Photography.

Charles Town Races will take the night off Thursday, marking the second consecutive evening without racing at the track.

But track officials were working behind the scenes to secure permission from Gov. Jim Justice (R) to race without fans, as a number of other tracks have done, track announcer Paul Espinosa said on Twitter.

The cancellations came about following Justice’s March 17 speech and March 18 coronavirus executive order, which ordered closed all bars, restaurants, and casinos. Racetracks like Charles Town have sought permission to race without fans on the grounds that it would enable them to continue the sport’s economic activity, which is good for the economy as a whole, while limiting exposure primarily to people — such as trainers, grooms, and hotwalkers — who already must show up to work each day regardless to care for their horses. Laurel Park and Oaklawn Park are two of a number of tracks racing on a fanless basis.

Others have pointed out that many people who would not otherwise be at the track — from the announcer to the stewards to the racing office, and others — must turn out for live racing, putting them in an at-risk situation.

In the Mid-Atlantic, tracks have taken differing approaches to the coronavirus emergency. In Pennsylvania, both Parx Racing, near Philadelphia, and Penn National, near Harrisburg and like Charles Town, a Hollywood Casino, both have closed down during the emergency. Laurel Park is slated to run this coming weekend, with tightening restrictions.

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About The Author

Frank Vespe

Frank Vespe, the founder and publisher of The Racing Biz, has owned, bought, sold, claimed, written, and talked about horses, in varying combinations, for a decade. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @TheRacingBiz.

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