Houston Racing Festival
January 28th, 2023

Sam Houston Race Park
RACING OPERATIONS
COVID- 19 Protocols, Policies and Recommendations
(As of December 21, 2021)

Sam Houston Race Park management reserves the right to modify this document at any time.

To ensure the safety of all stakeholders, Sam Houston Race Park (“SHRP”) has identified specific risks to our stabling and racing facilities as it relates to COVID‐19.  To reduce the potential exposure of COVID19, the following will be in place until further notice.  

The following protocols, policies and recommendations are based on current CDC guidelines (www.cdc.gov).  

This document covers the following topics:

  • Entrance Policy

  • Sam Houston Race Park Team Members

  • Stable Area Access

  • Sam Houston Race Park Dorms

  • Trainers

  • Veterinarians, Farriers, and Vendors

  • Administration Building‐ Racing Area
    • Entries
    • Race Day Draw
  • Jockey’s Quarters Building

  • Jockey Protocols

  • Saddling Paddock Area

  • Live Racing Staff

  • Training Hours

  • Live Racing

  • Emergency Contact Info

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SHRP Entrance Policy and Face Covering Policy

All licensees, employees, and customers, unless stated otherwise in this document, will have the option of wearing a face covering while on property, with the following exception:

  • The Texas Racing Commission may require face coverings to be worn by anyone in any TxRC office, including the Licensing or Stewards offices

SHRP Team Members

Social distancing

A separation of six (6) feet or greater is no longer required by the CDC. Keep in mind, distancing is one way of mitigating the likelihood of infection.

Getting Tested for COVID-19

Team members should only seek testing when they are either symptomatic or have a known or suspected exposure to someone with COVID‐19.

COVID-19 Exposure

The CDC recommends that those who have been exposed to an infected person can wear a “high-quality” mask for 10 days around others when indoors in public. They should also test for COVID‐19 at least five days after exposure (or sooner if they are symptomatic) – again, irrespective of their vaccination status.

Quarantine

Instead of a mandatory quarantine period, regardless of vaccination status, people who have been exposed to the virus can wear "a high‐quality mask" for 10 days following exposure when indoors or around others and get tested after the fifth day.

If people test positive or show symptoms of COVID‐19, the TM should isolate for at least five days.
If the results are negative, the individual can continue to wear a mask as a precaution, if they choose. Exposed individuals should take particular care when around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID‐19.

Exposure to Covid -19

Definition of Exposure

  • Being within six (6) feet of someone who has COVID‐19 for a total of fifteen (15) minutes or more

  • Providing care to someone who has COVID‐19 or someone in your household has COVID‐19 or showing symptoms

  • Having direct physical contact with someone with COVID‐19

  • Sharing eating or drinking utensils with someone with COVID‐19

  • Someone with COVID‐19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow spread respiratory droplets onto you

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Social distancing (a separation of six (6) feet or greater) is no longer required by the CDC. Keep in mind, distancing is one way of mitigating the likelihood of infection.

The CDC recommends that those who have been exposed to an infected person can wear a “high-quality” mask for 10 days around others when indoors in public. They should also test for COVID‐19 at least five days after exposure (or sooner if they are symptomatic) – again, irrespective of their vaccination status.

If Exposed Covid -19 Testing

Definition of Exposure

  • Being within six (6) feet of someone who has COVID‐19 for a total of fifteen (15) minutes or more

  • Providing care to someone who has COVID‐19 or someone in your household has COVID‐19 or showing symptoms

  • Having direct physical contact with someone with COVID‐19

  • Sharing eating or drinking utensils with someone with COVID‐19

  • Someone with COVID‐19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow spread respiratory droplets onto you

    Social distancing (a separation of six (6) feet or greater) is no longer required by the CDC. Keep in mind, distancing is one way of mitigating the likelihood of infection.

    The CDC recommends that those who have been exposed to an infected person can wear a “high-quality” mask for 10 days around others when indoors in public. They should also test for COVID‐19 at least five days after exposure (or sooner if they are symptomatic) – again, irrespective of their vaccination status.

    Stable Area Access

    Stable Area access will only be available to the following TxRC licensees and necessary personnel:

  • Trainers/ Assistant Trainers

  • Owners

  • Grooms/Hotwalkers

  • Exercise Riders

  • Jockeys

  • Private Veterinarians‐ Must obtain vendor approval from SHRP

  • Farriers‐ Must obtain vendor approval from SHRP

  • Outriders/ Pony People

  • Medical Personnel

  • Authorized Sam Houston Race Park Employees

  • Texas Racing Commission Staff

  • Haddad Tack Shop Personnel

  • Truck Haulers and Van Drivers

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  • Any other individuals approved by Sam Houston Race Park management or the Texas Racing Commission

  • Visitors will not be permitted Stable Area access. Sam Houston Race Park Dorms

    Sam Houston Race Park Security will monitor the Stable Area activity daily
    A maximum of two (2) person may be in Dorm Rooms. This rule will be strictly enforced.

    If a licensee living within Sam Houston Race Park’s dorm area begins to feel ill or shows possible symptoms of COVID‐19, then the licensee or Trainer must notify SHRP Security immediately.

    Sam Houston Race Park Security or EMT staff will perform a temperature check with a non‐contact thermometer and ask basic health questions relating to COVID‐19 symptoms. SHRP’s Entrance Policy will be applied. Anyone showing COVID‐19 symptoms will be required to leave SHRP property immediately.

    Cleaning and Hygiene

  • Dorm occupants must practice proper hygiene and conduct regular cleaning of their allotted dorm area(s)

  • Sam Houston Race Park will provide additional soap dispensers in all bathrooms. Everyone should wash their hands frequently and thoroughly

  • Additional sanitizing and cleaning of the bathrooms will be performed

    Trainers

    Trainers or their responsible personnel are accountable for their employees to ensure all safety protocols and procedures are being followed.

  • Limit human to human contact

  • Limit to one person in the tack room at any time
    • Social distancing (a separation of six (6) feet or greater) is no longer required by the CDC. Keep in mind, distancing is one way of mitigating the likelihood of infection.
  • Limit the number of staff in the barn to essential staff or stagger shifts to limit number of staff in the barn

  • Designate one or two employees to work with: o Veterinarians

    • Farriers

    • Vendors

  • Assign equipment to specific employees
    • This limits the amount of touching by employees
  • If you or any of your staff feel ill, PLEASE DO NOT COME TO WORK!

Regardless of how inconvenient this may be to your operation, decreasing the number of people in an area is crucial to decreasing the spread of this virus.

The following items and areas should be disinfected daily:

  • Halters

  • Wheelbarrows/shovels/rakes/brooms

  • Doorknobs

  • Stall clips/gates

  • Barn door handles

  • Light switches

  • Counters/desks

  • Each horse’s water and feed buckets

  • Cross ties/stall ties

  • Grooming supplies

  • Tack (before and after being used)

    COVID‐19 is easily killed in the environment with most disinfectants. Consider using the following:

  • Lysol spray (or similar)

  • Hand sanitizers

  • Diluted nolvasan, povidone‐iodine, bleach, or chlorhexidine

  • Soap and water (a bucket of soap and water continuously available for hand washing or rinsing is convenient and effective – but it must be changed regularly if dirt or manure gets into it).

  • Set up one or more sanitizing stations for your barn. The easier it is for people to keep things clean and disinfected, the more likely they are to do so.

    Veterinarians, Farriers and Vendors

  • SHRP asks that trainers designate only one person from your barn to interact with veterinarians and farriers to limit the human‐to‐human exposure

  • Maintain social distancing (separation of six (6) feet or greater) as much as possible

  • SHRP recommends that all private veterinarians, farriers and vendors consider enforcing similar measures as they move from barn to barn

    Administration Building- Racing Area

    All individuals entering this area will have the option of wearing an approved face covering.

    Sam Houston Race Park will provide additional sanitization stations within these areas.

    Entries

  • SHRP recommends that entries be made via telephone or through RTO’s online entry system (See Racing Office for additional details)

    Draw

  • SHRP will also provide live streaming video via Zoom of the draw for those who are unable to attend

Jockey’s Quarters Building

The Jockey’s Quarters will be limited to the following TxRC licensees:

  • Clerk of Scales

  • Paddock Judge

  • Jockeys (Only those designated to ride on that race day)

  • Valets

  • Silks Coordinator

  • SHRP Security

  • Track Chaplain

  • EMT staff (when necessary)

  • TxRC Staff

  • Sam Houston Race Park Management

    Sam Houston Race Park’s goal is to limit the number of people in the Jockey’s Quarters at one time.

  • All licensees (listed above) will have the option to wear an approved face covering

  • Social distancing (a separation of six (6) feet or greater) is no longer required by the CDC. Keep

    in mind, distancing is one way of mitigating the likelihood of infection.

  • Owner silks may be used for races to be run at Sam Houston Race Park. Silks MUST be delivered to the Racing Office only

  • The sauna, hotbox or whirlpool will be available

  • Jockeys will be allowed three (3) pounds weight allowance

  • Food service will be eliminated and those licensees (listed above) will be allowed to bring in their own food

  • The Jockey’s Quarters will be tobacco free during the racing season

  • Walking through the grandstand will be allowed during racing hours. Those licensees with Jockey’s Quarters access will have the option to wear a face covering and walk through the paddock level (south of food court)

The Clerk of Scales will monitor and ensure all protocols and procedures are followed

Jockey Protocols

Sam Houston Race Park at its sole discretion, may expand restrictions or requirements to all riders

Live Racing

Jockeys have the option of wearing a face covering during the following:  Communicating with trainers or assistants prior to mounting

  • Being escorted by a pony horse
  • Entering the Starting Gate
  • Unsaddling with Valet and weighing out with the Clerk of Scales
  • Returning to the Jockey’s Quarters
  • Jockeys may lower their face covering during the running of the race.  Gloves are recommended to be worn

Sam Houston Race Park Live Racing Staff

  • Clerk of Scales

  • Paddock Judge

  • Farrier

  • Starting Gate Staff

  • Valets

    Sam Houston Race Park at its sole discretion, may expand restrictions or requirements to racing staff.

    Saddling Paddock Area

    The following licensees will be allowed in the Saddling Paddock.

  • Clerk of Scales

  • Paddock Judge

  • Farrier

  • Trainer of the horse

  • One (1) person per horse (groom or lead)

  • Jockeys

  • Valets/ Assistant Starters

  • SHRP Security

  • EMT Staff (when necessary)

  • TxRC Staff

  • Sam Houston Race Park Management

  • Owners

  • If a horse needs additional assistance, the Paddock Judge may grant an extra licensee to assist.

    All licensees entering the Saddling Paddock will have the option to properly wear an approved face mask and will follow social distancing requirements as practicable

    Training Hours

    Face coverings are optional for all licensees throughout training hours at Sam Houston Race Park. This includes the “In and Out” gap and those on horseback. The starting gate staff will disinfect the starting gate throughout training.

    Racing Hours

    All TxRC licensees have the option to wear a face covering and will follow social distancing requirements as practicable. The starting gate staff will disinfect the starting gate throughout the race day.

    Emergency Contact Info:

    If you are not feeling well, Sam Houston Race Park strongly recommends you seek medical assistance immediately. Please contact the following numbers.

    Sam Houston Race Park Security 281‐807‐8790
    Harris County Public Health 832‐927‐7575
    To locate free COVID‐19 testing sites throughout Harris County, please visit

www.publichealth.harriscountytx.gov

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