Assiniboia Downs Continues With Plan to Open May 10

Track aims for 50 racing dates without fans but horse population, lack of US shippers, will be a major concern for Winnipeg track.

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By: JM/The Insider ASD |

“Their last revenue opportunity was the first week of September 2019. Since then, which is the annual experience, they’ve had six to seven months of just pure expenses. So if we can’t get them an opportunity to get revenue, it could be catastrophic to our industry.” Darren Dunn, CEO Assiniboia Downs

Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, a not-for-profit business,  remains on schedule to open its Thoroughbred meet on Mother’s Day, May 10, without spectators and with the caveat that the race meeting could be modified. With the daily changes in the news on the spread of the COVID-19 virus, racetracks across North American have been affected in different ways.

CEO Darren Dunn is hopeful.

There were many western Canadian trainers with horses at Turf Paradise in Arizona and that track shut down racing Mar. 21 but horses can continue to train there.

The Insider Newsletter at AssiniboiaDowns.com by Ivan Biggs talked to Don Schnell, trainer of champion Escape Clause, who had 8 horses at Turf Paradise.

“Horse racing is in shambles now. Most racetracks are closing now and no one knows where to go,” he said. “The owner of Turf Paradise tried to kick all the horses and people off the track because of a simulcast dispute and blamed it on the coronavirus. But the commission and the HBPA had meetings and gave concessions and now we can stay and train until May 9.

“Nobody knows where to go or what to do. Most of us will stay here until other tracks open and then decide. Hopefully things will get better and we can start racing in two or three months. Tremendous hardship on all horse people and many will get out of the game and many will go bankrupt. But we do have to stay optimistic.”

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