Sam Houston calls off its meet with coronavirus concerns

Sam Houston calls off its meet with coronavirus concerns
Photo: Mary Cage

Sam Houston Race Park is the latest track to cancel racing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We share in the disappointment this creates throughout the Texas racing industry and for our valued customers and employees," vice president and general manager Dwight Berube said in a news release. "Sam Houston Race Park looks forward to a time when our entire community can once again enjoy great racing."

The track closed racing to spectators and closed its simulcast facility on March 12.

Chris Griffin, track announcer and marketing director at Sam Houston, posted this tweet:

Next up on the Texas racing schedule is Lone Star Park, near Dallas. Its meet is scheduled to begin April 16.

In a news release on Friday, Lone Star Park said that, effective immediately, it would not allow horses to enter the stables area in preparation for the meet. The move was in compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott's order to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"We believe the process of accepting horses at the track may make it more difficult for trainers, jockeys and other staff to practice social distancing compared to their daily routines to prepare for each race day," the track said in the release.

Lone Star Park said the temporary postponement is effective through April 3, when track officials will re-evaluate the situation.

On Thursday, a positive COVID-19 test from a backstretch worker led to the New York Racing Association indefinitely canceling races at Aqueduct.

And Saturday's card at Fair Grounds, which included the Louisiana Derby, was the last program for the New Orleans track.

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