The Indiana Standardbred Association (ISA), the Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC), and Harrah’s Hoosier Park has worked diligently through many revisions submitted to the State of Indiana to outline a plan to get horses back on track. Governor Eric Holcomb has approved a start date for racing following Stage 4, which is set for Sunday, June 14. The 27th season of Standardbred racing is set to begin Tuesday, June 16.
Terms included in the guidelines will be spectator-free racing until the entire state moves into Stage 5 Saturday, July 4. At that time, fans can return to the grandstand at Harrah’s Hoosier Park and racing enthusiasts will be allowed to attend the first Indiana Sired Fair Circuit program slated that day at Converse, Ind. Prior to that time, racing from Harrah’s Hoosier Park will be available only through simulcasting.
ISA has also worked with horsemen’s groups from the state’s Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse industries to outline safety protocols to reach Stage 5 in Indiana. Outside of the general requirements put in place for all individuals, such as wearing masks, hand washing, disinfecting public areas, and social distancing, racing has outlined other terms to safely return to racing. All essential racing personnel, vendors, horsemen and horsewomen must have temperatures checked daily, with temperatures not to exceed 100.4. Once all safety precautions are passed, different colored wristbands are issued and worn on a daily basis to assist security in monitoring everyone’s compliance with the check-in process.
Drivers will be required to meet their horses outside of the paddock and get on the race bike as horses head to the track. No winner’s circle photos will be taken. Dean Gillette, Harrah’s Hoosier Park’s track photographer, will be positioned outside the paddock and will take winning photos in that area before the horse heads to the test barn. Common areas such as lounges and break rooms will also be closed until further notice. The Backstretch Café will continue to offer carryout service for breakfast, lunch and dinner once racing resumes.
The racing office is also following added precautions. All entries must be made either online or by phone and no individuals are allowed to attend the draw. Access to the racing administration building is very limited and anyone entering the building must first go to the stablegate to complete daily safety procedures and get a wristband. Appointments inside the racing administration building should be made to meet with racing personnel prior to entering the building.
A full list of protocols and guidelines is available on Harrah’s Hoosier Park’s Website by CLICKING HERE.