Horses ready to race in hippodromes after long break
Istanbul’s Veliefendi Hippodrome is prepared to restart horse racing today, after being shuttered two and a half months ago, with a decision of the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry as part of coronavirus (COVID-19) measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The official trainings of the racehorses continued ceaselessly, as the necessary preparations continued at full speed.
Before the trainings, the racers were sanitized and instructed to wear protective face masks to ensure that all health safety measures were in place throughout the action.
As disinfectant bottles were placed at some points in the facility, posters were hanged around the hippodrome, informing what should be done to stay protected against the coronavirus.
Visitors will be accepted to the hippodrome only after their body temperatures get screened and they pass through a “disinfectant tunnel.”
The number of people entering the racing areas, paddocks and saddling areas has been reduced to a minimum within the scope of the measures.
Social distancing lanes were also placed in areas where human mobility is intense.
All necessary measures were taken against the spread of COVID-19, said Çetin Özdemir, Veliefendi Hippodrome manager Çetin Özdemir.
He underlined that the races will continue without compromising the measures taken.
Gökhan Kocakaya, the jockey who won the most races last year, said that they were waiting for the first race with excitement.
“Our preparations are completed and now we expect to start. We were very excited waiting for this day since the day it was postponed,” said Gökhan Kocakaya, the jockey who won the most races last year.
Horse racing is a popular sport in Turkey, mostly for those betting on them.
When the country halted all horse races on March 20, stables, veterinarians, jockeys and other staff were the only people that remained in the country’s nine hippodromes.