Public health emergency won’t keep horses off the track

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CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — Though West Virginia Governor Jim Justice had ordered all racing venues and casinos in the state to close during the coronavirus pandemic, the stables at Charles Town race track were abuzz Friday afternoon in anticipation of a 7 p.m. post time.

Despite the restrictions from the public health crisis, the thoroughbreds were being groomed for their eight-race card. But in keeping with the gubernatorial order, the grandstands are empty, as are the gaming tables and dining venues in the Hollywood Casino adjacent to the track.

The real audience is online spectators. The Hollywood Casino website broadcasts the races as will the TVG network which broadcasts the competing ponies from 150 worldwide venues.

It is a little weird, though, to be racing with empty grandstands.

Ranford Jones is a horse trainer who says the wagering will go on. “It’s a new experience for all of us,” he says. “I hope this doesn’t last too long. And good luck to everybody!”

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