CHARLOTTETOWN, PE – While the traditional Old Home Week festival in August has been cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19, officials with Red Shores have continued with plans for the normal week of racing but under very different circumstances.
The harness racing portion of the normal festivities is being billed as Gold Cup and Saucer week this year and will run from August 13 to 22 ending with The Guardian Gold Cup and Saucer final on midnight Saturday evening. There will be no charge to get on the grounds for the week but the crowd allowed on the property will be dramatically reduced to comply with Public Health protocols.
Gold Cup and Saucer week will see the normal evening race cards being held but only the first Saturday and Gold Cup and Saucer Saturday will have a double program of afternoon and night racing. This removes the doubleheaders that were normally held on the Monday and Friday. Post times will 1pm and 7pm. The week will also feature divisions in the Atlantic Sires stakes showing the best Maritime stars.
Lee Drake, Red Shores manager of Racing, Brands and Broadcast, says the organization has been working diligently with the team of Chief Public Health Officer Heather Morrison to hold the pivotal week of racing while adhering to all health protocols.
“While the action on the track will be top notch as it always has been, the biggest change is the on track fans,” Drake said. “As directed by the public health office, we cannot allow thousands of people on site like other years. Back in April, Red Shores and PEI Harness Racing Industry submitted proposals outlining plans and protocols for return of harness racing. These protocols will be in place, which again will affect the amount of people attending the event. We are committed to following these guidelines for the safety of horse people, staff and customers.”
As of now, travel restrictions are tight for people coming into the region from outside the Atlantic Bubble, coupled with the U.S. border being closed, which will have an impact on the usual entrants to the Gold Cup and Saucer final.
“We want to keep as much of the fanfare and pageantry as possible for the 61st edition of the Guardian Gold Cup and Saucer but there is no question it will be different this year,” Drake said. “Picture the race exactly the same but with a few hundred people on site instead of tens of thousands of people. We do plan on hosting local Gold Cup parties around PEI with restaurant partners, in accordance with public health guidelines, and other promotions to be announced soon.”
Drake wants to remind all horse people coming from Off-Island of the travel protocols in place and asks everyone planning to come for the week from Atlantic Canada to contact the race office in Charlottetown as soon as possible for stabling. The number is 902.629.6636.
The current protocols in place in the barn area in Charlottetown will remain in effect for Gold Cup and Saucer week, Drake says.
“If you think you will be going like previous years to hang out and socialize in the barns that is not going to happen this year,” Drake said. “Safety is our number one priority.”
Red Shores will continue to provide updates at redshores.ca and Red Shores social media platforms as it becomes available.