Popular American racetrack Santa Anita is the latest to fall victim to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Santa Anita has called racing off after instructions from the Los Angeles County Health Department this week.
The track located in Arcadia was preparing to stage eight races when the cancellation was announced on Friday.
There has been no clarity of when a possible return date will be as America stands to suffer the worst fatality rate of the global pandemic.
As one of the United States’ major tracks, Santa Anita tried to argue the case it could continue with only essential workers but the California Horse Racing Board has told them they must operate under the sanction of local health authorities.
It’s sister track Golden Gate Fields in San Francisco remains open under public lock-out conditions.
Santa Anita said there are no known cases of COVID-19 at the track however Los Angeles County Health Department is taking a no-chance approach as it looks to lock down the spread of the virus in the state’s capital.
A day earlier, an executive for track owner The Stronach Group, urged the racing board to allow racing to continue, as it has at Stronach-owned Gulfstream and Tampa Bay Downs in Florida, Oaklawn in Arkansas and Remington in Oklahoma.
The prestigious Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Oaks, which were set to headline the racing program on Saturday, April 4, will be rescheduled for later in the season once racing resumes.
With over 1,700 horses stabled at Santa Anita who require daily care from more than 750 staff of which most live on-site, the Park officials are lobbying the L.A Health Department to lift the ban on racing and continue with stringent rules and protocols.
Santa Anita has been holding races behind closed doors and without spectators since March 12 until they were met with a stop-racing notice on March 27.