With recent COVID outbreaks affecting North American racing as the pandemic worsens, here are the tracks being affected. (This list will be updated as new information becomes available.)
Golden Gate Fields
The Northern California track will remain closed until Dec. 26, the scheduled opening day of its winter meet. The track was shut down last month because of an outbreak of more than 200 cases of COVID among those who live and work on site.
The meet that was scheduled to begin Dec. 26 has been postponed for 30 days, and officials expect to review opening plans for the New Mexico track in January. New Mexico has a tiered, county-by-county approach to COVID restrictions.
Racing resumed Wednesday without spectators at the New Mexico track, which was closed Nov. 13 because of a state order to close non-essential businesses. To start making up for some lost competition, a day of racing was added Thursday with plans to increase purses for the rest of the meet by 30 percent. Zia Park is on a Monday-Wednesday schedule until Dec. 23 with training through Dec. 31.
The 2020 fall meet began Friday with no spectators and with restrictions on jockeys and trainers.
The winter season began last week at the Kentucky track near Cincinnati, but spectators were off limits because of construction on the property now owned and operated by Churchill Downs Inc. A mini-holiday season this month will be followed by a full winter schedule starting in January. (See highlights of the meet here.)
The annual championship meet started last week but is not open to the general public. This continues COVID restrictions on spectators that were imposed last winter. (See highlights of the meet here.)
Tampa Bay Downs
The 2020-21 season began as scheduled on Nov. 25, and fans are allowed to be in attendance. They must wear masks, and socially distant seating will be available.
After the final week of 2019-20 racing was canceled in March, the new season at the Fair Grounds started as scheduled on Thanksgiving. The meet will start with no fans allowed. Fair Grounds slots and off-track betting facilities will maintain normal operating hours.
After being hit hard during the summer by Hurricane Laura, the Louisiana track opened Nov. 24, seven weeks late. Races that had been at night will be run during daylight hours because of storm damage to the light towers. Spectator capacity has been limited to 50 percent because of the pandemic.
The meet that began in August will continue until Dec. 20. Fans are allowed, but only on the track and ground levels with only one entrance open and face coverings required.
A traditional Dec. 26 opener is planned with the winter-spring meet scheduled to run through June 20. The announcement from the Santa Anita communications department did not make reference to COVID restrictions, although the track is still expected to be off limits to spectators indefinitely.
Although scheduled racing continues, a recent outbreak of COVID has sidelined several jockeys at Parx, including current leading rider Mychel Sanchez.
Racing resumed on Thanksgiving as scheduled. Several racing dates were added to make up for those lost in a previous COVID spike this month.
Races are being run Wednesday-Sunday at New York's traditional winter circuit with no fans allowed in attendance.
Racing continues as scheduled at the Maryland track, but it is closed to fans and the general public. Owners are allowed to attend
Racing continues through Dec. 28 on a Sunday-Wednesday schedule. Spectators are allowed, with face coverings required.
Racing continues at the Ohio track. Spectators 21 and over are allowed, with face coverings required.
The 2020-21 winter meet is scheduled to begin on Dec. 10, with no spectators except a limited number of owners.
The Louisville track has new ticketing plans for the 2021 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks with all-inclusive packages for all reserved-seat holders. Amid uncertainty about the COVID pandemic the move will reduce the time that guests spend in line and eliminate the need to carry extra cash for food and beverages. You may read more here.