The Japan Racing Association (JRA) announced on Wednesday that it will continue to hold horse racing events with no spectators after a state of emergency was declared under the Novel Coronavirus Special Measures law.
The Sakura prize of the 3-year old classic on 12 April, the Satsuki award on 19 April and Emperor award on 3 May, as well as the spring GI3, will all proceed as scheduled.
There will inevitably be some sense of disconnect from the public’s perspective given events are continuing despite the government’s request for people to refrain from leaving their homes, but the JRA said it will enhance measures to prevent infection such as restricting the movement of horses between East and West regions from 18 April.
Local horseracing, which maintains its turnover through online sales, has taken a similar stance. As of today, Oi (Tokyo), Nagoya and Sonoda (Hyogo) have also held races without any spectators. Boat races were held at Edogawa (Tokyo), Gamagori (Aichi) and Fukuoka, and car racing was also held at Hamamatsu (Shizuoka).
Keirin (bike racing) has been canceled at Tachikawa (Tokyo), Nagoya and Matsuzaka (Mie). Races were still held at Komatsushima (Tokushima) and other locations, but without spectators.
The JRA has reported that three staff members have been infected with COVID-19. Former Keirin racer and critic Shigenori Inoue (62) has also tested positive.