(May 26, 2020) - The Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (“HBPA”) and the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (“QHRAI”) and the Indiana Standardbred Association (“ISA”) have requested the reopening of the barn areas at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino (“IG”) and Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino (“HHP”) with the goal of commencing live horse racing as soon as practical in a spectator free manner. IG and HHP recognize that strict guidelines addressing the Covid-19 public health emergency must be drafted, approved by all parties, and strictly enforced in order to protect the health and safety of horsemen, their employees, racetrack employees, racing officials, commission staff and other essential racing personnel. The recommendations should be used in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) and Indiana State Department of Health (“ISDH”) mitigation guidance that is currently in place. These guidelines will be in effect during the entire period of the COVID-19 public health emergency and may be adjusted as necessary to encourage the health and safety of all essential racing personnel.
This document is designed as a guide for the safe opening and operation of our racing properties. At all times we will focus on conducting racing in a manner that provides a safe and healthy environment for our employees, our horsemen, Indiana Horse Racing Commission staff, and other related racing personnel and vendors. Full cooperation and commitment of the below plan by all parties will be necessary.
The Indiana Horse Racing Commission, in collaboration with the Governor’s office, has indicated racetracks will be allowed to begin populating barn areas using a ‘phase-in’ approach as outlined in the Governor’s ‘Indiana Back on Track’ roadmap (https://backontrack.in.gov/). More specific detail is attached to each Stage listed below. Please note that all dates listed below are subject to change should the Governor’s ‘Back on Track Indiana’ roadmap need to be adjusted.
- Stage 2: May 11 – (Racetrack barn opening for local horse population)Essential travel restrictions are lifted (local non-essential travel allowed). Horses currently located in Indiana will be allowed to begin moving onto the backside of both racetracks. This applies only to those trainers with horses currently located in-state. Contact racetrack for details.
- Stage 3: May 24 – (Racetrack barn opening for all horses)No travel restrictions: horses originating from out-of-state are allowed. Horses currently located outside of Indiana will be allowed to begin moving onto the backside of both racetracks. This applies to those trainers with horses originating from out of state. Contact racetrack for details.
- Stage 4: June 14 –Pari-mutuel racing anticipated to commence (spectator free)
- Stage 5: July 4 –Pari-mutuel racing and County and State fair racing anticipated to begin (with spectators) should there be no change in the ‘Back on Track Indiana’ roadmap.
- Hand washing should be top of mind at all times. To the extent possible everyone should wash his or her hands regularly throughout the day with soap and water or using available hand sanitizing stations posted around the backside.
- Signage reflecting proper handwashing techniques (in English and Spanish) is currently posted and will be placed in additional restrooms and other public areas to reinforce and remind everyone of the importance of proper and regular handwashing.
- Social distancing measures require that grouping and gathering will not be allowed. All essential racing personnel will be required to stay 6 feet apart from one another when possible.
- All essential racing personnel and vendors will be required to adhere to a temperature test prior to entry into barn area daily. Racing personnel that are housed in barn area will be required to visit the stable gate for testing by 12:00 pm daily. Non-compliance will result in eviction from property. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or greater will not be allowed entry into the barn area and will be required to self-quarantine off property for fourteen (14) days. Records of temperature tests will be documented and communicated daily. Those testing with a high temperature should report directly to their trainer or employer. The Indiana State Board of Health ‘Q & A’ site offers information regarding self-quarantine direction at https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/files/IN-COVID-19_FAQforPublic%203.24.20.pdf. The CDC (Centers for Disease and Control at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html) is another useful resource. You may also contact a representative from the horseman’s association representing the breed of horse under your care for assistance.
- Track management will establish and maintain sanitizing stations in all main entrances of barns and offices adjacent to and in the barn area.
- Face masks/face coverings (a mask, scarf or bandanna) that cover mouth and nose will be mandated for all essential racing personnel and vendors to be worn at all times while in public. All Horsemen will be responsible for purchasing face masks/face coverings for their employees. The properties will supply facemasks/face coverings to all backside employees and other PPE for all property employees as determined necessary based on job duties. Such necessary job duties that involve jobs requiring closer personal space between the employee and citizen. In these cases, additional PPE such as face shields and gowns will be required and supplied.
- Disinfecting of all public areas in the barn area will take place daily. Disinfecting should continue all day long, rotating through all the areas constantly. (i.e. Stall gates (in paddock and receiving barns), light switches, doorknobs).
Personnel Protocols and Restrictions:
- Only essential racing personnel will be allowed in the barn area. Essential racing personnel may include racing officials as designated by the state, ambulance staff, track maintenance crew, backside maintenance crew, racing department employees, and housekeeping crew. Essential personnel involved with the care, training and racing of horses include grooms, hotwalkers, exercise riders/drivers, trainers and their assistants, jockeys, drivers, blacksmiths, veterinarians, and equine massage therapists. Essential personnel licensed by the Commission to ensure horse racing is held in compliance with state statutes and regulations include but is not limited to stewards/judges, placing judges, official chart-caller, clerk of course, photo finish operator, Trakus operator, clocker and clerk of scales. Horse Owners and visitors are not considered essential personnel and will not be allowed entry.
- A Compliance Committee led by the security directors at both properties will oversee all access control procedures, all monitoring and reporting requirements, and ensure all suspected cases of Covid-19 infection are properly documented and communicated by following instruction outlined by the Indiana State Board of Health and CDC.
- All essential racing personnel and vendors will be required to adhere to a temperature test prior to entry into barn area daily. Racing personnel that are housed in the barn area will be required to visit the stable gate for testing by 12:00 pm daily as well. Failure to comply with temperature taking protocol will result in punishment up to and including eviction from property. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or greater will not be allowed entry into the barn area and will be required to self-quarantine off property for fourteen (14) days. Those testing with a high temperature should report directly to their trainer or employer. The Indiana State Board of Health ‘Q & A’ site offers information regarding self-quarantine direction at https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/files/IN-COVID-19_FAQforPublic%203.24.20.pdf. The CDC (Centers for Disease and Control at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html) is another useful resource. You may also contact a representative from the horseman’s association representing the breed of horse under your care for assistance.
- All essential personnel will be educated on the proper removal of PPE’s and will receive regular protocol updates. The Compliance Committee will be responsible for training and communication.
- No owners, visitors, or guests will be allowed access to the barn area, racetrack, track apron, paddock, or jockey’s room/drivers lounge until further notice.
- The racetrack and paddock access will be limited to Commission, licensed trainers (or assistant trainers) and essential personnel who have horses racing that day. For saddling purposes, only the trainer, or a qualified representative, and groom will be allowed access to their horse. There will be no admittance for anyone onto the apron at either property.
- Grandstands at both Indiana Grand and Harrah’s Hoosier Park will remain closed with no admittance to anyone other than those required for live racing operations. It is anticipated that horse racing will begin on June 14th WITHOUT spectators. It is anticipated horse racing WITH spectators may be allowed by Governor Holcomb’s Reopening Indiana Plan-Stage 5 date of July 4th.
- There will be 24/7 patrols of the barn area (minimum of 2 security personnel), barns, shedrows, dorms, track kitchen, Racing Office, tack trailer and other offices.
- All essential personnel must have and wear a current IHRC racing license when on the grounds of Indiana Grand and Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
- Temperatures will be taken with a touchless infrared thermometer by trained security personnel. In addition, the following four questions will be posted in English and Spanish (native language) at the stable gate entrance: Have you had a cough? Have you had a fever? Have you been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the past 14 days? Are you living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?
- IG and HHP will identify and establish relationships with nearby medical facilities for testing and treatment of essential racing personnel and other employees and staff that have symptoms, are denied access to the barn area or racing facilities, and must recover and/or have a negative Covid-19 test in order to return to the barn area and participate in racing. IG and HHP will work collectively with horsemen’s associations (ISA & IHBPA) regarding instruction on caring for individuals needing quarantine and/or treatment.
- Those who pass the body temperature exam will be given a color-coded wrist bracelet that must be worn at all times that day while on the grounds of Indiana Grand or Harrah’s Hoosier Park. The successful exam date and time will be recorded in the essential racing personnel database by examining team.
Barn Area Protocols:
- All equipment accompanying the horse must be disinfected prior to entering the Frontside Saddling/Backside Detention Paddock (At Harrah’s Hoosier Park this would be Barns 9 and 17). It is the responsibility of the trainer to have his/her equipment disinfected.
- Only essential personnel licensed by the state and jockeys/drivers scheduled to ride/drive in races on a given day will be allowed access to the jockey’s room/drivers lounge.
- No one under 16 years of age allowed in the barn area, unless licensed as a groom.
- Everyone working/living in the barn area must wear a mask/face covering at all times in public.
- All essential racing personnel, vendors, employees, van drivers must wear a suitable covering (a mask, scarf or bandanna) over their nose and mouth when entering the barn area. Van drivers and attendants must have minimal contact with any barn area personnel.
- Gate crew personnel must wear a suitable covering (a mask, scarf or bandanna) over their nose and mouth while loading horses into the starting gate and will have no physical contact with any other personnel unless in the best interest of safety.
- Trucks, tractors and gators must be disinfected before the start of each day and at the end of each day.
- No loitering or gathering in any public spaces while on property. This will be strictly enforced by security team and essential racing employees.
- Break lounge in paddock to remain locked except for official business by drivers or trainers.
- Jockeys/Drivers will mount their horses outside of the saddling barn/paddock and proceed directly to the racetrack for the post parade and warm up.
- Track kitchen will offer/continue carry out orders. IG will have breakfast and lunch and HP will have breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- No starting car rides.
- For Harrah’s Hoosier Park, qualifiers will be held 4 days a week until opening of the meet on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Qualifying races will be limited to 10 races per session for social distance and safety purposes.
- Return to normal training hours once we have 80% of horses on grounds.
- Horsemen should plan to arrive at least one hour earlier than scheduled due to the additional time it will take to check people and horses into the barn area. The week racetrack backsides are permitted to reopen, Horsemen will be given a 4-hour block (6am-10am, 10am-2pm, 2pm-6pm) of time and date for initial arrival. This phase in plan will allow Indiana horses to arrive May 11th due to the lifting of local travel restrictions. Out of state horses will be allowed to arrive beginning May 24th due to the lifting of Indiana’s travel restrictions.
- The winner’s circle will not be utilized for spectator free racing. Winning pictures will be taken at the paddock exit.
- Security Access Logs shall be maintained by a designee of the Compliance Committee at each track to log who has accessed the apron on a specific day.
- The starting gate and paddock stalls must be power washed and/or sanitized weekly. The paddock gates will be sanitized at the end of each racing day. No guest(s) will be allowed in the starting car. Both starter and car driver must wear suitable covering (a mask, scarf or bandanna).
- Cleaning and disinfecting of all public areas in the barn area will take place daily or more as needed.
- No loitering in Paddock Judge Office.
Racing & Licensing Office Protocols
- No loitering in or outside the racing office and/or licensing office. Practice social distancing while outside at all times. Entries must be made either on-line or over the phone. No entries over the counter. A minimum of 6 feet of social distancingshall be maintained at all times throughout the offices and barns at Indiana Grand and Hoosier Park.
- Post-position draws will be conducted with only racing, horseman’s representative(s) and commission officials physically present. They will not be open to the public. All entry and overnight information will be posted online daily. Hard copies of the draw will available outside of racing office.
- Official chart caller will be permitted to use their designated office space only.
- The Horsemen’s Bookkeeper will be available on a normal schedule. Access to the Bookkeeper location will be for essential business only and loitering is not allowed.
- Access to Racing Office by appointment only. Request for access to be made by calling racing office ahead for scheduling.
- Racing office staff and anyone entering racing office must wear facemasks.
- Licensing office and Steward access will be limited utilizing State of Indiana COVID-19 guidance. Please attempt to handle most licensing functions by utilizing online options or faxing or mailing your license application to the office. Limited public access will be available; however, please allow sufficient time to conduct your business. Calling in advance to discuss your situation may alleviate your need to visit.
- Individuals conducting business in the IHRC licensing office should be aware that certain activities and transactions may take longer than normal under these guidelines. Individuals applying for a license are strongly encouraged to submit the application prior to the date on which they have entered to race. The IHRC cannot guarantee that an application submitted fewer than three hours prior to first post of that race day will be processed.
Jockey, Drivers & Jocks’, Drivers’ Room Protocols
- The Jockeys’ Guild should be consulted for organizational established protocols.
- Only essential personnel licensed by the state and jockeys/drivers scheduled to ride in races will be allowed access to the Jocks’ Room or Drivers Lounge.
- Lockers and workstations will be spaced a minimum of the required six feet apart.
- Jockeys shall wear masks in the Jocks’ Room and Saddling Paddock, but can remove the mask prior to mounting.
- Drivers shall wear masks in the Drivers Lounge and Paddock area, but can remove the mask prior to driving.
- Jockeys and Drivers are prohibited from any physical contact between themselves and others.
- Jockeys are required to leave the Jockeys’ Room immediately following their last ride, unless directed otherwise by the Stewards.
- Drivers are required to leave the Drivers Lounge immediately following their last drive, unless directed otherwise by the Judges.
- All sauna and extraneous facilities will remain closed. Jockey’s quarters (including but not limited to lockers, showers, dressing areas and valet tables) should be disinfected with CDC recommended disinfectants and sanitized frequently throughout the day. Bodywash disinfectant dispensers and sprays will be provided for use during and after every shower.
- Jockeys should be encouraged to limit travel, and a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine is in effect for all jockeys who have traveled internationally.
- On days that Drivers and Jockeys are not driving or riding, they will not be allowed in the Jockeys Room or Drivers Lounge unless approved by the Stewards or Judges.
- Trainers must supply a list of their employees to the security department. Security department will copy list and provide to licensing office. Lists must be updated immediately as employees leave and others are hired. Failure to do so will result in punishment up to and including the eviction of trainer from the premises.
- Any trainer who has a backside employee that becomes ill or exhibits COVID 19 symptoms will be responsible for seeking treatment and self-quarantining of that employee. Trainers are required to work with appropriate horsemen’s association staff to assure employee receives appropriate guidance and assistance necessary to implement self-quarantining and/or treatment.
- Stakes schedules and purse schedules may/will be altered depending on the start of our meets. However, due to the loss of casino revenues, simulcast revenues, live racing revenues and export revenues, the purse accounts will be watched very closely, and overnight purses will be adjusted to the appropriate levels.
- Roberts Communications, Trakus, United Tote and International Sound and other necessary vendors will be contacted by Compliance Committee to ensure they are aware and comply with proper protocols for health and safety.
- For any situation that arises and is not covered under this document that causes a material change to this policy, that situation will need to be presented to the Compliance Committee for review.
- A Compliance Committee will be established consisting of representatives from the track, horsemen’s association(s), a racetrack Equine Veterinarian, practicing Veterinarian and the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to discuss issues that may arise.
- Horsemen shipping horses into Indiana Grand or Harrah’s Hoosier Park must have prior approval of the Racing Secretary and an appointed time to arrive at the stable gate. All of the usual equine health documents are requirements (Coggins, health certificate, vaccination records). Horses arriving after their appointed time may be denied access unless approved by the Racing Secretary, Stewards, Judges and Compliance Committee.
- Guests will not be allowed in dorm rooms at any time.
- These protocols will appear on the Indiana Grand, Harrah’s Hoosier Park, IHBPA, QHRAI, ISA and IHRC websites with a link from the home page.
I attest that I have read and understand everything contained in this document and will abide by all policies, procedures and protocols listed.