Sam Houston Race Park
RACING OPERATIONS
COVID- 19 Protocols, Policies and Recommendations
(As of February 10, 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 COVID‐19, 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
  • 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

SHRP Entrance Policy

All licensees, employees and customers entering Sam Houston Race Park will be required to have daily temperature checks with a non‐contact thermometer performed prior to admittance.

This includes the following areas:

  • Stable Gate
  • Walk‐In Gate
  • Racing Office
  • Jockey’s Quarters
  • Entrance Gates
  • Employee and Horsemen’s Entrance

If a temperature of 100.4 or higher is recorded, the licensee or employee shall wait ten (10) minutes in a separate location to be tested again. After a second test with a temperature of 100.4 or higher, admittance will be denied. 

If Licensee or Employee Fails Temperature Check:

  • Licensee or employee will be asked to quarantine for at least fourteen days from the date of the failed temperature check and shall be required to provide SHRP two (2) negative CDC gold standard PCR Covid‐19 nasopharyngeal tests*. These two negative tests must be taken at least three days apart.
     
  • Once the two negative tests are received, no COVID‐19 symptoms are present and the fourteen day quarantine period has elapsed, then the licensee or employee will be permitted to return for admittance to Sam Houston Race Park.

If Licensee or Employee receives a Positive COVID‐19 Test Result

  • Licensee or employee will be asked to quarantine for at least fourteen days from the date of the most recent Positive COVID‐19 test and shall be required to provide SHRP two (2) negative CDC gold standard PCR Covid‐19 nasopharyngeal tests*. These two negative tests must be taken at least three days apart.
     
  • Once the two negative tests are received, no COVID‐19 symptoms are present and the fourteen day quarantine period has elapsed, then the licensee or employee will be permitted to return for admittance to Sam Houston Race Park.

If Licensee or Employee has been Exposed to a COVID‐19

  • Licensee or employee will be asked to quarantine for at least fourteen days from the date of the exposure and shall be required to provide SHRP two (2) negative CDC gold standard PCR Covid‐19 nasopharyngeal tests*. These two negative tests must be taken at least three days apart.
     
  • Once the two negative tests are received, no COVID‐19 symptoms are present and the fourteen day quarantine period has elapsed, then the licensee or employee will be permitted to return for admittance to Sam Houston Race Park.

*REAL‐TIME REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION‐POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION TEST

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
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils with someone with COVID‐19
  • Someone with COVID‐19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow spread respiratory droplets onto you

A color coded wrist band will be issued daily to identify persons (licensees and employees only) that
meet Sam Houston Race Park’s entrance requirements.

At all times, persons admitted to the SHRP MUST properly wear approved face coverings (except in the act of eating or drinking). Coverings must meet current CDC guidelines deemed effective against the spread of COVID‐19.

Social distancing (a separation of six (6) feet or greater) is strongly recommended throughout Sam
Houston Race Park at all times.

Any violations of Sam Houston Race Park’s protocols or policies will be subject to disciplinary action,
including being ruled off Sam Houston Race Park property.

Stable Area Access

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

  • Trainers/ Assistant Trainers
  • 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
  • Any other individuals approved by Sam Houston Race Park management or the Texas Racing Commission
  • Owners and Visitors will not be permitted Stable Area access.

Sam Houston Race Park Dorms

Sam Houston Race Park Security will monitor the Stable Area activity on a daily basis (reminder that
visitors will not be allowed at any time).

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
    • Six feet is the minimum recommended distance
  • 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:
    • Veterinarians
    • Farriers
    • oVendors
  • Assign equipment to specific employees
    • This limits the amount of touching by employees
  • Take your employees’ temperatures every day.
  • If you or any of your staff feel ill, PLEASE DO NOT COME TO WORK!

Regardless 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 on a daily basis:

  • Halters
  • Wheelbarrow/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 during this time

Administration Building- Racing Area

Access to this area, including the Racing Office, Horsemen’s Bookkeeper, TxRC Commission offices and Track Kitchen will be limited and subject to a non‐contact temperature check. All individuals entering this area will be required to properly wear an approved face covering and follow social distancing requirements at all times.

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

Entries

  • The area will be limited to four (4) people at one time for all in‐person 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 hold the race day draw outside of the Racing Office and will limit the number of people to four (4) people. Face coverings and social distancing will be required at all times.
  • SHRP will also provide live streaming video via Zoom of the draw for those who are unable to attend

Jockey’s Quarters Building

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 COVID19 symptoms. SHRP’s Entrance Policy will be applied.

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 be required to properly wear an approved face covering and follow social distancing requirements at all times
  • 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 not 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 prohibited during racing hours. Those licensees with Jockey’s Quarters access will be required to use the horse path to get to and from the track
  • The Clerk of Scales will monitor and ensure all protocols and procedures are followed

Jockey Protocols

All jockeys arriving to Sam Houston Race Park prior to January 1, 2021 must provide a negative CDC gold standard PCR Covid‐19 nasopharyngeal test* upon arrival.

All jockeys who plan to ride at Sam Houston Race Park will be required to provide a negative CDC gold standard PCR Covid‐19 nasopharyngeal test* within 72 hours of the race day in which they first plan to ride at Sam Houston Race Park.

*REAL‐TIME REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION‐POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION TEST

If a jockey leaves Sam Houston Race Park and rides at another jurisdiction, they will be required to provide Sam Houston Race Park the protocols listed above prior to returning.

If local COVID‐19 conditions worsen, Sam Houston Race Park may require all jockeys in SHRP’s colony to provide a negative CDC gold standard PCR Covid‐19 nasopharyngeal test* by the first Monday of each month. SHRP recommends that jockeys take this test no less than 96 hours prior to the due date. Jockeys who fail to provide results will not be allowed to participate at SHRP until paperwork is provided.

*REAL‐TIME REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION‐POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION TEST

Incoming riders will be located in separate areas within the Jockey’s Quarters from the regular SHRP jockey colony.

Sam Houston Race Park at its sole discretion, may expand restrictions to incoming riders arriving from a racing jurisdiction deemed to be a COVID‐19 hotspot.

Training Hours
Jockeys/Riders will be permitted to breeze or work a horse under the following conditions:

  • A face covering is properly worn at all times
  • Gloves are recommended to be worn
  • Jockeys/Riders must limit exposure to the barn area
    • o SHRP recommends Jockeys/Riders meet the groom outside the shed row to mount and dismount the horse
  • All tack must be disinfected daily

Live Racing
Jockeys must properly wear face coverings 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

The following SHRP Racing Staff will be required to provide a negative CDC gold standard PCR Covid‐19 nasopharyngeal test* upon arrival.

  • Clerk of Scales
  • Paddock Judge
  • Farrier
  • Starting Gate Staff
  • Valets

*REAL‐TIME REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION‐POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION TEST

If local COVID‐19 conditions worsen, Sam Houston Race Park may require all Racing Staff to provide a negative CDC gold standard PCR Covid‐19 nasopharyngeal test* by the first Monday of each month. SHRP recommends that jockeys take this test no less than 96 hours prior to the due date. Jockeys who fail to provide results will not be allowed to participate at SHRP until paperwork is provided.

*REAL‐TIME REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION‐POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION TEST

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 will not be allowed in the saddling paddock for overnight races
  • If a horse needs additional assistance, the Paddock Judge may grant an extra licensee to assist.

All licensees entering the Saddling Paddock will be required to properly wear an approved face mask and follow social distancing requirements at all times.

Training Hours

All licensees will be required to properly wear an approved face covering and follow social distancing requirements at all times 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 are required to properly wear an approved face covering and follow social distancing requirements at all times. 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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