Santa Anita Park

  • The Santa Anita Park has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Officials from the park are looking to petition health officials on April 18 to reopen.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Officials from Santa Anita Park racetrack are planning to petition the Los Angeles County Health Department on April 18 to reopen the park. The park officials want races in the track to continue without any spectators.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, nearly all gambling facilities in the United States are closed. Many horse race tracks are closed too, such as the Santa Anita Park. That leaves not much horse race betting available, which is a key source of revenue for these tracks.

Reasons To Reopen Santa Anita Park

Reopening the track to allow horse races to continue will bring in the necessary revenue for Santa Anita Park to survive. Horse races have a certain privilege that regular legal sports betting venues do not.

Horse betting is legally allowed to happen across state lines. This is due to the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978. Due to this, horse races do not need a crowd of people available to be profitable.

Another reason why park owners want to reopen Santa Anita Park is because of the horses themselves.

The park is actually where a good number of racehorses receive their care. They believe that if health officials allow for the care of the animals, then the park should be allowed to reopen to full operations.

It is not impossible for these conditions to be met. In southern California, the Cypress track is continuing operations without a crowd watching. Similar operations are happening in Florida as well. Executive directors of the Santa Anita park plan on being insistent on reopening the facility.

“If (the answer) is a no—and we’re all hoping that is not going to be the case—but if it’s a no, I have to come away with the rationale for saying no,” said Aiden Butler, acting executive director of TSG.

“What is the rationale? What is that issue, and can we address that issue or particular issues for you? And, if not, I need to push pretty hard for the rest of the guys to get benchmarks. What will the curve look like? What other triggers would we be looking at to react to this? At the moment, we haven’t gotten a lot of answers.”

There is a chance that the health officials will insist on leaving the park closed. After all, if they start making exceptions, all other closed businesses in their jurisdiction will likely form a petition as well.

Either way, Santa Anita Park will make their case on April 18. If it does not work out, the park is hopeful that they can reopen by their summer meet.

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