Live professional sports returns to Washington with horse racing at Emerald Downs

It’s opening week at Emerald Downs in Auburn.

As the horse racetrack gets ready for 10 live races on Wednesday afternoon, this marks the official return of live professional sports to the state of Washington under Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Plan.

There will be plenty of noticeable health and safety changes in place in response to COVID-19 including mandatory face coverings and social distancing mandates on the track.

The biggest change is that racing will be conducted without fans in the stands.

“You’ll see all the grooms and even the jockeys everyone will be wearing a face covering,” said Philip Ziegler, President of Emerald Downs. “The jockeys even on the track will be wearing face coverings, but during the actual race itself they can drop them down.”

Opening week features racing on Wednesday, June 24 and Thursday, June 25, with first post 2:15 p.m. Wednesday and 5 p.m. Thursday. For more information click here.

All wagering will be done through advanced deposit wagering companies online.

On Friday, Emerald Downs will open the 5th floor of the racetrack for dining and off track wagers with Covid-19 health protocols in place.

Fans won’t be allowed back in the stands for live races until we enter phase 4 of the state’s reopening.

The season will run until mid-October.