Harness racing is set to return to Cloverdale’s Fraser Downs.
“Our plan now is to start in September,” Randy Rutledge told the Cloverdale Reporter. “The horses are training at the track and most people are feeling pretty positive right now.”
The 2019-2020 season was cut short when Great Canadian Gaming shuttered Elements Casino and the Fraser Downs in mid-March. The closure forced Harness Racing B.C. to cancel their remaining 12 race days.
Rutledge, the president of Harness Racing B.C., said unless the COVID situation deteriorates, the 2020-2021 harness racing season will start as scheduled on Sept. 17.
Rutledge said he doesn’t have much information on what safety protocols will be in place come September, but said Harness Racing B.C. will have a safety plan and they will implement all necessary safety measures.
He said along with those elated at the return to racing, he said others have told him they are apprehensive about the return because of COVID-19.
“Safety will be our top priority. Our safety protocols will be similar to what some of the tracks are doing back east. They’ve already been up and running for a few weeks now.”
Rutledge doesn’t yet know if there will be fans in the grandstand for races but, as the weeks progress, he said a better image will emerge about what the race days will look like.
“But all the races will be live-streamed,” he added.