DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) – The Bing Crosby Season at the Del Mar Racetrack kicks off Saturday with new rules to keep everyone involved healthy and safe.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Media Director Mac McBride told ABC 10News, "We normally have one large jockey's room. What we've done now is made three jockey’s rooms to thin out the ranks so they're not sitting on top of each other like they do normally.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this racing season will be noticeably different than years past. This season, jockeys will also wear masks on and off the horses, test daily for the coronavirus, and if anyone receives a positive result, they'll be required to quarantine for at least 10 days.
"When we put that into place in the summer after our first hiccup, it worked out well. We had no further incidents with our riders,” McBride said.
McBride added that even though the club took a big hit with empty stands this summer, folks were still tuning in and bets were still flying high.
"We thought we might do well, but we had no idea how we were going do that well, and we did. The jump from $12 million to $19 million average a day staggered us, it was amazing,” said McBride.
Thanks to betting profits, the racetrack was able to maintain their four-legged showstoppers, which is their top priority, among keeping everyone safe.
"Even if we raced and lost money, it still would've been a good thing because horses in the end would be taken care of, and that's the focus right now. Keep horses well fed and safe,” McBride told ABC 10News.
Organizers will also be keeping an eye out where San Diego County stands in the state's COVID-19 tier system. If the county were to fall from the red tier into the yellow tier, outdoor sporting events like theirs could allow them to fill seats.
"Obviously, we wouldn't look for 40,000 people, but if we had 4,000 or something like that sure, we could bring them in, and space them out. We'd love to bring them back,” said McBride.
Another big event in the future is the world-famous Breeder's Cup. It's slated to take place in Del Mar next November and organizers said they're preparing now, COVID-19 or not.