Nova Scotia

Truro Raceway 'elated' to get back to track

COVID-19 delayed the opening of the horse-racing track, which normally would have been up and running in early April. Qualifiers begin Sunday and the first races are scheduled for June 5.

Qualifiers will begin Sunday at noon, first races scheduled for June 5

There will be qualifying action at Truro Raceway on Sunday as it reopens from COVID-19. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Truro Raceway is ready to run.

The harness racing venue is getting back to business this weekend with qualifying scheduled for Sunday and the first races scheduled for June 5. 

"We're elated, we're so excited to get rolling here," said Kelly MacEachen general manager of the Truro Raceway. "The positivity around the grounds here is something else. Everyone is extremely happy to get going and the horses are all ready and exercising."

Truro Raceway would normally be up and running in early April, but COVID-19 caused a delay this year.

"It's been really tough because this is people's livelihood, too," said MacEachen. "A lot of people have lost a lot of income being down for this long and, aside from their families, they have their animals to take care of.

"It's also kept a lot of people away from our grounds that like to come and visit the horses. This is kind of their happy place. It really helps people with mental health to be able to come and spend time with these horses."

MacEachen said only essential caretakers were allowed on the ground. She said even owners haven't been able to come in and see their horses since March.

Live streaming races

"Of course, our bills don't stop but our revenue does, and so it's just been tough on the business, too," MacEachen said.

The virus means additional health and safety precautions for the track.

For example, fans are not allowed on site. The races will be live streamed on the Truro Raceway's website.

MacEachen said she's hoping restrictions will ease to the point where fans are allowed back in to watch.

Fans will be able to place bets through the Harness Player Interactive website. MacEachen said online wagering is the only source of revenue in a race card at the moment.

"These are world-class athletes out here, these horses are amazing," MacEachen said. "It's something else to see. I suggest any sports fan tunes into our live broadcast."

Fifty-seven horses had been entered into the qualifiers as of Friday evening, but MacEachen expects that number to grow with each week.

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