Off to the Races radio to take brief hiatus
Off to the Races Radio will take a short hiatus, The Racing Biz announced March 27.
The show is slated to be off the air for its next two episodes, originally scheduled for March 28 and April 4. The weekly radio show, which airs on the ESPN Richmond (VA) family of stations, and is available everywhere via livestreaming, is in the midst of its 21st season.
“The coronavirus emergency has had a huge impact on the racing world, as it has on all of us,” said The Racing Biz founder and publisher Frank Vespe. “In light of that, it is appropriate to take a brief pause in our coverage of Thoroughbred racing in the Mid-Atlantic and beyond.”
The majority of the country’s racetracks are currently shuttered, including all four in the Mid-Atlantic that normally would be in action: Parx Racing and Penn National in Pennsylvania, Maryland’s Laurel Park, and West Virginia’s Charles Town Races.
Several tracks nationally – including Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn Park, and Santa Anita Park – are continuing to run but are doing so without fans.
Even the status of the sport’s signature event, the Triple Crown, is up in the air. While Churchill Downs has announced it will run the Kentucky Derby September 5 – the first Saturday in September rather than its traditional spot on the first Saturday in May – the dates of the second and third legs, the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, have not yet been announced, which may end up scrambling the series this year.
Vespe said he expected the show to resume normal operations shortly.
“While this time of quarantines and closed racetracks may go on for some time, we are hopeful that some of the uncertainty in the Thoroughbred industry will begin to resolve itself shortly, which will enable us to get back to work,” he said.
The weekly radio show airs at 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays on three terrestrial stations: 99.5 FM, 102.7 FM, and 950 AM. It is scheduled to continue through August 29. The archives for this year’s episodes are at theracingbiz.com.
LATEST BUSINESS NEWS
The 50th annual Eclipse Awards will be a virtual event this year, held January 28.
The Maryland Racing Commission today gave its final thumbs-up to a regulation banning the use of Lasix by horses in graded stakes.
Keith Jones, the racecaller at Parx Racing for over 30 years, will retire at the end of 2020.
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard is, for the first time, sending a string of jumpers to Ireland to compete there and in England.
Applications are now open for the 2021 competition year of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium.
With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact, claiming activity in the Mid-Atlantic region is off by more than 30% this year versus last.