Harness Racing’s Remote-Crowd Theater

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

May 16th, 2020

There was a time in the history of pari-mutuel horse racing when the industry waved off offers to be shown on television. In the second decade of the new millennium, a “broadcast screen” will offer the sole transition of horse racing action, as well as the conduit for wagering.

Interaction from the betting public is operative and, of course, encouraged—as long as the people remain outside of the premises; the race is on, but no one is allowed to witness it in person.

The situation is a byproduct of the infected atmosphere caused by COVID-19. Beginning this week, horse racing that was shut down in particular areas goes back into business, available for betting \and watching only through digital devices. Until further notice, no public sports presented will allow the public to be on site.

In the harness racing world, Ohio leads the way back into its 2020 season when programs resume on May 22 at Scioto and May 26 at Northfield. Health protocols are mandatory condition for horsemen. These orders will modify “as the COVID-19 landscape changes, whether added restrictions are necessary or lifted.” The same goes for Northfield on Tuesday (May 26), with post time at 6 p.m.

At his COVID-19-update press conference on May 16, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York horse racing would resume on June 1, putting Yonkers back into play (announcements about racing at other state raceways are pending).

Hoosier is expected to receive approval any moment now to launch its season on June 16. In Canada, Charlottown begins racing on June 4 and Woodbine/Mohawk (WoMo) is set to go to posts again on June 5.

More raceways are on the brink of announcing comebacks, all under the same spectator-free conditions.

“While no spectators will be in attendance,” said one track manager reflecting the situation for all track managers in North America, “wagering on the racing action will be available worldwide.”

The TwinSpires harness blogs will return to their main functions this week (we encourage all spectators, obviously). We will be back on our feed, so to speak, covering all of the action on the continent. Thought here have been many feature-stakes cancellations, our bettors’-oriented coverage won’t change, since we have always emphasized overnight racing. We will offer analysis with selected features (our own choices) and continue the never-ending Horses-To-Watch List (H2W).

Our posting schedule will change, according to the racing programs scheduled. Watch the TwinSpires blog section daily for our preview and update harness posts, so you do not miss any races presented.

The TwinSpires wagering platform has not been quarantined through “the dark period” that was void of action in the past two months. Wherever in the world there was betting action, TwinSpires took the book.

Feel free to stream and scream harness racing as the action returns, one track at a time.

Get your TwinSpires accounts locked and loaded.