To: All Stakeholders in Washington Racing
From: Emerald Downs President Phil Ziegler
We are finally seeing some clarity with our plans for the 2020 race season. The Governor’s reopening plan placed professional sports without audience participation in Phase 3. Horse racing and baseball are specifically mentioned. Based on the current timetable of at least three weeks between phases the state could begin to enter Phase 3 on June 15. In Phase 4 there are no gathering limits and we would be open to the public.
Emerald Downs Racing LLC and the Muckleshoot Tribe sent a revised date request letter to the WHRC for 44 days of racing beginning June 20 through October 4 with exact race days and post times to be determined.
Upon approval of these dates we will be moving forward with preparations. We are anticipating operating at least the first four weeks under Phase 3. We would run on Mondays and Tuesdays at noon beginning June 22. Once Phase 4 begins we would transition over to our traditional three-day weekend schedule.
We are working on a revised Stakes Schedule which WILL include multiple races for each category.
Running without the public is very challenging for our business and the sooner we can have the public here the better. We do not have a return date for simulcasting and other activities such as banquets and entertainment but it’s likely to be when Phase 4 begins. During a typical season we have over 500 employees. For many it’s a summer part-time job and for others it’s been their full-time career. Many of these jobs only can exist when we are open to the public.
For everyone working in the stable area you have done a terrific job of staying healthy. To clarify we are following the CDC recommended mask/face covering policy. Masks are required when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Please always be aware of your surroundings and do not take any chances with your health and the health of others. That will always be our top priority. And needless to say, if we have health issues in the stable area our race meet would be in jeopardy.