Arapahoe Park opens to horse racing, but without spectators

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ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — COVID-19 brought a halt to sporting events, including horse racing.

Bruce Seymore is the general manager of Arapahoe Park, which celebrated its first-ever opening day with empty grandstands on Monday.

“It’s surreal. Normally we would have between 3,000 and 5,000 people,” Seymore said.

The only way to enjoy the races at Arapahoe Park this June is on a television screen. If you want to place a bet, you have to do it online, although only one of the major horse racing betting sites is currently accepting wagers from Coloradans even though online gambling is now legal in the state.

The betting windows at the track are currently closed and so are the track’s 13 off-track betting sites.

“I would love to open those now because it’s revenue. It’s simple. I could have a staff meeting in a phone booth,” Seymore said.

Bruce Seymore says his staffing levels are at 15 percent of normal this season.

However, not all is negative. Arapahoe Park’s expenses are way down and with very few other sporting alternatives right now, Seymore hopes that could mean good things for his track.

“It could go either way on me. I could also lose my futures, some of the people who are my regulars interested in watching live racing. I could lose them, and that concerns me a lot. I also am concerned my horse population could diminish if we can’t sustain the amount we pay in purses,” Seymore said.

There’s no indication of when spectators will return to Arapahoe Park, but Monday was a sign of hope. Racing returned, albeit with no fans, but for Seymore that’s enough.

“I’m just grateful that we’re racing. That’s my goal. We’re racing,” he said.

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