Horses spring from the gate in Del Mar. Chris Stone photo

After this weekend’s racing cancellations at Del Mar due to more than a dozen jockeys testing positive for COVID-19, officials announced Friday that the summer meet will resume July 24.

Racing will take place next weekend in what will now be a four-day race week, from Friday through Monday to account for the lost weekend.

“Adding a race card on Monday, July 27 provides our horsemen and women with additional opportunities to run their horses,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins.

Robbins said the other two lost days from this weekend’s previously scheduled races will be made up later in the season. The dates have yet to be determined.

“We applaud Del Mar’s management for quickly adapting during these unprecedented times,” said Nick Alexander, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. “Winning a race at Del Mar is special and a four-day race week will provide our members with additional opportunities to do so.”

On Wednesday, the track announced that 15 jockeys had tested positive for COVID-19. Officials believed most of them were asymptomatic.

Del Mar’s CEO Joe Harper said, “Canceling this weekend’s races will give us additional time to monitor the situation” and allow the individuals who tested positive to recover.

Racing officials also instituted new travel restrictions. They will permit only jockeys based in California, and prohibit all local jockeys who leave to ride at other venues from returning to Del Mar for the summer racing season.

Del Mar opened the races July 10 without fans in the stands due to the pandemic.

The track also instituted a number of health and safety measures aimed at preventing any potential spread of the virus.

They include daily on-site health screening for all personnel, from temperature checks to wearing face coverings and additional hand washing and sanitizer stations. Staff will conduct regular disinfecting of all common areas, including the addling/paddock area and starting gate.

The meet is slated to conclude on Labor Day, Sept. 7.

– City News Service

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