Coronavirus and racing: Is this Gulfstream Park's last hurrah?

Coronavirus and racing: Is this Gulfstream Park's last hurrah?
Photo: Courtesy of Gulfstream Park

Will this weekend be the last for racing Gulfstream Park?

Earlier this week, Hallandale Beach, Fla., vice mayor Sabrina Javellana told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the track should stop racing after Broward County banned non-essential business operations because of the coronavirus outbreak. “We can’t just bend to their will just because they say they’re going to sue us or [take] whatever legal action," she said. "They’re a powerful entity, but we can’t just allow that to go on. They’re blatantly violating the Broward County order."

But WTVJ-TV reported Wednesday that Bill Badgett, executive director of track owner The Stronach Group, denied that any legal action was suggested.

"We will continue to work with all stakeholders, including city, county and state officials, to ensure that we are in full compliance with all requirements for social distancing," Badgett said in a statement.

But with more tracks suspending racing under similar government orders -- including Turfway Park in Kentucky -- the pressure may be on for Gulfstream to do the same after Saturday's featured race, the Florida Derby (G1).

Gulfstream is scheduled to begin its spring-summer meet on a Thursday-Sunday basis following the last weekend of its Championship Meet.

Notably, on Saturday the track is forcing out its Rainbow 6 jackpot pool with a mandatory payout, leading to more speculation about plans moving forward.

Meanwhile, the following tracks are set to race Thursday:

 Gulfstream Park entries and results; first post 1 p.m. ET

 Oaklawn Park entries and results; first post 3:30 p.m. ET

 Golden Gate Fields entries and results; first post 6:45 p.m. ET

Those three tracks, along with Santa Anita Park and Tampa Bay Downs, are scheduled to continue racing through Sunday.

Also, in Oklahoma the state racing commission posted notice that Will Rogers Downs can proceed next week. Fonner Park in Nebraska is also set to run at least three more cards, Monday through Wednesday, continuing a trial period while determining whether racing behind closed doors is financially viable.

News and Updates

 Agent: Hall of Fame jockey Castellano positive for COVID-19

 Wood Memorial to be rescheduled as Aqueduct closure continues

 The Jockey Club raising money for backstretch workers

 Keeneland looks to recoup lost Spring Meet race days

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