585 men and women live and work on the backstretch of Belmont Park caring for the some 1,300 equine athletes who train and race there. At the time of writing, 20 of those faithful backstretch workers have thus far testing positive for COVID-19 and one, we are deeply sorry to hear, has passed away as a result of the virus.
While some racetracks have already had their meets cancelled and grounds vacated, such as fellow Empire State venue Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, which will be home to a 1,000-bed temporary hospital for the surge of COVID-19 patients expected this month, closing down Belmont Park isn’t as simple given the number of people who call it home. Stabling and training at Aqueduct, on the other hand, was already closed permanently as of January 1st of this year, whereas Belmont Park keeps a mostly year-round operation.
We’re happy to hear though, that the Belmont Park backstretch workers are getting some assistance from the The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation in the form of 1,000 donated face shields, which are produced by Kroop’s Brands. While Kroop’s normally makes goggles for racing and skydiving, they’ve converted their production to creating face shields to help address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) at this time.
How can you help the racing industry? If you’ve got room for a new prospect, consider taking in one of these OTTBs:
What’s not to love about a five-year-old, 16.2-hand, beautifully built bay gelding? Perfect Joke is no joke — he ticks all the boxes for some of the most desired features in a event prospect. “Perry” is a laidback, easy-going goofball around barn and an athletic and engaged learner under saddle. What more could you want?
Located in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.
Quenlenny last raced in January 2019 and has only recently made his way to Second Stride. They’ve put him under saddle and found that he’s sound and ready for a new job in any discipline. Quenlenny has a great attitude and work ethic — a hallmark of his sire.
Located in Prospect Kentucky.
This CANTER-owned three-year-old looks like a super type and has a great brain as well. His last race was in January of this year, retiring sound and is even going barefoot currently. His CANTER caretakers and riders say he has a huge canter step and think he’ll make an excellent sport horse. He’s being offered at a steal of a deal for a quick sale right now, but his price will increase as his training continues.
Located in Versailles, Kentucky.