Horses will run with no fans in the stands

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - You aren't going to be able to go out and watch them, but at least for the next two weeks, the horses will be racing at Fonner Park, just without the crowd.

Fonner Park and the Nebraska Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Nebraska Thoroughbred Breeders Association have announced a two-week trial period to conduct no-spectator Thoroughbred horse racing.

Because of the global COVID-19 outbreak, on March 16, 2020, the traditional Fonner Park horse racing season (with spectators) was suspended until further notice.

The trial period of racing is to commence on Monday, March 23 – through Wednesday, April 1. Racing will be conducted Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with a 3:30 p.m. first post. A minimum of eight races are intended to be run on each race day. An assessment of the productivity of this venture will be made following the two-week trial term of six days of racing.

The racing facility will be closed to spectators. However, individuals with a current Nebraska horse racing license who are directly involved with a horse that participates on race day are permitted into the facility for that specific race only. Designated areas will be defined, additional new policies are being established.

Fonner Keno and the Finish Line Lounge is open and following all current restaurant restrictions.

The entire grandstand and indoor facility have undergone a massive cleaning endeavor; daily and hourly cleaning protocols and social distancing parameters have been established to address COVID-19 awareness.

“Currently horse racetracks in our nation are either closed or operating with a no-spectator adaptation of racing,” said Chris Kotulak, Fonner Park CEO. “My primary concern is the uninterrupted care of the horses in our stable area, and a continued opportunity for their caregivers to maintain a livelihood through racing and the distribution of purse money from racing."

Guests who want to continue to support horse racing in Grand Island, you will be able to watch the races via a free live streaming portal on the Fonner Park website.

Read the original version of this article at www.ksnblocal4.com.