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Aqueduct suspends racing after backstretch worker tests positive for coronavirus

The horses leave the gate for the 62nd

The horses leave the gate for the 62nd running of the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack on March 1, 2014. Samraat (1A) with Jose Ortiz was the eventual winner. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/ZUMA Press / Alamy Stock Photo

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The New York Racing Association announced Thursday that live racing at Aqueduct will be suspended until further notice because of changing circumstances in the racing community relative to the coronavirus.

A backstretch worker who lives and works at Belmont Park tested positive Thursday morning for the coronavirus. Following NYRA's Preparedness and Response Plan, the worker has been quarantined since developing symptoms. His roommate was also quarantined.

"This individual and his roommate have been in isolation since prior to racing last Friday and as such did not travel to Aqueduct for live racing," NYRA CEO and president Dave O'Rourke said. "We are working with the county and state departments of health to ensure proper quarantine and sterilization practices will continue to be followed moving forward.

"We are focused on ensuring the health and safety of our entire backstretch community, as well as the horses in their care," O'Rourke said. "Accordingly, we are immediately suspending racing operations until further notice to devote all our attention and resources to this effort."

Although racing at Aqueduct is canceled programs are being run at other tracks, including Gulfstream in Florida, Santa Anita in California, Oaklawn Park in Arkansas and the Fair Grounds in Louisiana.

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