Covid-19 Safe Racing Protocol

Updated: June 26, 2020
*Protocols subject to change

Basic guidance outlined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

  • Wear a Face Mask (and gloves if appropriate) at all times
  • Changing Face Mask and gloves on a regular basis
  • Practicing Physical Distancing at all times
  • Avoiding all physical contact, including, but not limited to, greetings
  • Covering mouth and nose with arm or shoulder in addition to PPE or Face Mask (and gloves if appropriate) when coughing or sneezing
  • Refrain from sharing pens, equipment or anything else
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds and / or use hand sanitizer on a regular basis

General Rules of Paddock Operation

The Paddock shall be disinfected after each racing, qualifying & training day. Sanitizing stations will be available outside of the paddock office.

Entry into the Paddock shall be limited to Essential Personnel only.  Non-essential personnel will not be granted access to the site.

Only licensed individuals providing essential services in the Barn Area will be permitted access to the Barn Area, such as licensed trainers with horses and a reduced number of designated employees (e.g., grooms, paddock attendants, warm up drivers, etc.)

  • Racing personnel will be limited to 1 trainer and 1 groom for every 2 horses. One more groom may be added for each additional 2 horses

Every person entering the Barn Area may undergo screening and temperature checks at a designated Security Check Point.  This will be the ONLY point of entry for all Staff, Regulatory Officials and Racing Participants.

All Communications should be carried out electronically where possible to limit in person contact.

There shall be no loitering in or around the entrance to the paddock, as all COVID-19 protocols on physical distancing shall be adhered to.

There will be no microwave or coffee maker in the Paddock.  Racing participants are encouraged to bring their own supply of drinking water during the extreme warm temperatures.

Masks (or face covering nose and mouth) are mandatory at all times for Racing Participants.  It is strongly recommended Racing Participants also wear gloves when coming into contact with frequently touched areas such as water taps, cross ties and door latches.

The Paddock will be limited to two races at one time. Listen for announcements from the Paddock Judge in regards to when to bring horses for upcoming races to the paddock.

The Drivers room will be closed. Drivers will have to change using the bathrooms into their racing uniforms.

Failure to adhere to any of these rules jeopardizes the continuation of racing, and violators are subject to removal from grounds.

Essential Paddock Personnel Includes:

  • Paddock Judge, Horse Identifier, Saddle Pad Attendant, Outrider, two Starting Car Persons, Security, Blacksmith, Veterinarians, TC02 Tech, Test barn Techs, Trainers, Grooms, Drivers, Judges, Official Racetrack Photographer, Race Track Management
  • Owners are not permitted at this time
  • Only Trainers with an entry will be permitted, unless entering a claim that night.
  • No one under the age of 16 shall be permitted onsite until further notice.
  • Only the Paddock Judge & Identifier will have access to the Paddock Office.
  • The Grandstand will remain closed during qualifiers
  • Grandstand washrooms are closed. Paddock facilities will be cleaned as per protocols.

Hand cleaning and sanitization stations have been added to all key areas.

Physical Distancing:

Racing participants are instructed to get in and get out quickly and efficiently.

Horses in the Paddock shall be placed in every other stall to ensure physical distancing is being practiced. . Handlers of all horses must ensure they are keeping the appropriate distance from the handler of the horse beside them and wear a face mask at all times.

Horses shall only be allowed to go 1 warm up trip.  Trainers wishing to go 2 warm trips must go 1st warm-up at home/training center.  Warm up drivers will strictly follow social distancing practices and will not loiter in the Paddock Areas. 

The Paddock Judge will have complete authority to dismiss anyone in the Paddock that is not working with a horse authorized for paddock use.

The Drivers locker room, lounge and showers shall remain closed at this time.

Drivers are to wear face masks and gloves at all times, except when driving during the race.  While waiting between races, drivers should maintain physical distancing protocols. Upon the driver’s last race of the day, he/she should leave the paddock immediately after notifying the Paddock Judge.

Lasix and Test Barn Procedures:

Lasix shall be administered in the Ship in barn lasix office.  Once it receives its Lasix the horse shall be taken back to it’s assigned ship in stall. There shall be no loitering in or at the entrance of the ship in barn(s).  All Handlers must either be outside in an open area practicing physical distancing or waiting in their vehicle until it is time for their horse to report to the Paddock.

Post Race testing:

  • Physical distancing to be practiced at all times. when entering the test barn with a horse. Attend the opposite side of the horse, from the technician.
  • Remain vigilant and respectful of the Racing Forensic Technicians at all times.

Start Car:

  • All Start Car Driver, and Starter will wear medical masks at all times.
  • The Start Car shall be sanitized and cleaned daily.

Racing Offices and Bookkeeper Racing Finance:

The Race Office is available by appointment only. Call 248-349-1000 then press 7, then 1

All purse checks will be handled by Direct Deposit Only. The bookkeeper will not be available for person-to-person interactions. Click Here to visit the Bookkeeper section of this website for information and forms to download.

Claims will be handled in the General Office. Please practice social distancing practices by only 1 person at the counter at one time. Please wear face covering when making claims and interacting with any member of the staff at Northville Downs.