Coping with COVID-19, part 2

Coping with COVID-19, continued

March 22, 2020

A few more individual industry stories and thoughts from the front lines in North America.

by Dave Briggs

Harness Racing Update asked a wide number of people in the harness racing industry to share their personal stories and thoughts about coping with COVID-19. Most of the responses were published March 20 (full story here), but a few more responses came in after the deadline and we share those here now. We hope to publish more individual stories from across North America in the weeks to come.

Each person was asked the following questions:

1. Where are you located right now and how are you and your family coping with the COVID-19 situation?

2. What is the situation like in your area?

3. How has it impacted your work in the industry, so far, and what are you most concerned about in the weeks and months ahead?

4. This is an industry big on hope and helping others. What suggestions can you offer for how people can help others in the industry through this crisis?

5. Where do you see the harness racing industry in 2-3 months?
We thank everyone for taking the time to respond.

FLORIDA

Jimmy Takter

1. Where are you located right now and how are you and your family coping with the COVID-19 situation?

I’m in Florida. We stay in constant contact with our kids on the phone and it’s very active corona virus in our area and we are very nervous about it.

2. What is the situation like in your area?

Well, they just closed the beach. We have a condo on the beach and cannot be on the beach and the pool area is empty. I think many (Snowbirds) went back home. There are many French Canadians here and most went back.

3. How has it impacted your work in the industry, so far, and what are you most concerned about in the weeks and months ahead?

I’m in contact daily with New Jersey and have been up there a few days every month. I was planning to go back in early April, but now I’m not sure. If they close everything we might go any day. We are living day to day.
My main concern is stake races getting closer and we need to have our horses ready but will wait to press them. I’m sure we will find out something in next few weeks. I also worry about people that may get sick that work on our farm, caring for the horses could be a major mess.

4. This is an industry big on hope and helping others. What suggestions can you offer for how people can help others in the industry through this crisis?

First thing, stay away from contact with other people. Social media gets information out about what’s going on if any are sick so we know what’s going on in our area.
Wash your hands. Pray.

5. Where do you see the harness racing industry in 2-3 months?

I’m not sure we will even be back racing in this time. If we are not, I really cannot see this will be a good year for racing. I’m not sure we will survive this Corona virus and the drug scandal. Many people will have a problem feeding their horses and paying their help. Horses will start selling off.

I’m an optimistic person, but cannot see this ending well, unless we get a big break in the form of a vaccine.

ONTARIO

Pat Woods

1. Where are you located right now and how are you and your family coping with the COVID-19 situation?

We are at Winbak Farm of Canada, Inglewood, ON. I live on the farm. We are doing okay here, and trying to be very cautious. We are doing what we can to social distance ourselves from the world. My kids are off school now, and trying to entertain themselves the best they can and only visiting family.

2. What is the situation like in your area?

Because our farm is close to Brampton, we deal with some of the stresses of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) situation. It’s very concerning due to the large population in such a close proximity to us. Store shelves are bare and people are very nervous about the future. There are very nervous people who don’t deal with the unknown very well.

3. How has it impacted your work at Winbak, so far, and what are you most concerned about in the weeks and months ahead?

We have been very lucky so far, compared to a lot of people. Our business hasn’t been impacted much, we are still all systems go. Winbak staff have been working hard to keep day-to-day operations flowing smoothly. Our horses need to be cared for regardless of what’s happening in the world around us. And foals are coming whether we are ready or not. We are still shipping semen across North America, borders are open for us, luckily, so we can still service our clients. Our suppliers have us stocked up and are making sure we don’t run out of anything. We are very fortunate that are staff is so dedicated and doing their best to stay safe for the sake of the horses.

4. This is an industry big on hope and helping others. What suggestions can you offer for how people can help others in the industry through this crisis?

We have a great industry that always seems to prevail through the worst of times. Success and survival in this business have always come from hardworking people, and we have some of the most resilient in the standardbred world. Fellow horsemen and horsewomen step up when times are tough and when they see someone else struggle. I am very confident that we, as horsemen, will get through this setback. If we stay positive, offer a hand to those in need, work together as an industry, then we will come out of this better than most industries. One of the ways Winbak Canada is trying to help, is by securing additional barns and pasture to accommodate horseman for layups and/or resident broodmares. Our owners, Joe and JoAnn Thomson, didn’t want to see horseman in Ontario without options if they needed space for their horses during these tough times.

5. Where do you see the harness racing industry in 2-3 months?

I hope to see our industry dust itself off, get back to business and be full of promise again. I hope that we are excited about our new 2020 foals born and dream of them being champions. I hope that we are looking forward to our 2-year-olds qualifying, full of potential and promise. And I hope to be watching our grooms working, drivers driving, trainers training, owners buying, and breeding farms winding down from successful breeding season. I love this industry and only hope for the best for everyone involved. We will make it back.

Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE TO

HARNESS RACING UPDATE

%d bloggers like this: