Public well being guidelines imply the crowds are smaller, however there was a sense of pleasure as Purple Shores Summerside started its reside harness racing season on Victoria Day.
This will likely be it is second season working underneath P.E.I.’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Lee Drake, supervisor of racing and broadcast for Purple Shores, mentioned it is nice to be opening.
“I believe it is a day of pleasure, we’re grateful,” Drake mentioned.
“There’s nothing like going to the observe.”
Spectators watch one of many first races of the season in Summerside, P.E.I. (Laura Meader/CBC)
He mentioned Purple Shores Summerside is following gathering guidelines and the ability is working round 50 per cent capability.
Drake mentioned contemplating many different components of Canada aren’t permitting out of doors actions, Purple Shores feels lucky.
He mentioned going to the observe as of late does require extra planning. On opening day, out of doors spectators have been restricted to 2 pods of fifty individuals and in order for you a spot, you normally have to order forward of time.
Drake mentioned final 12 months they have been attempting to persuade individuals to come back to the observe, however now they’ve shifted their enterprise mannequin to encourage individuals to look at the reside streams and wager on-line.
“With COVID-19, our enterprise mannequin did shift and we have been working with our TV broadcast aspect of the enterprise,” Drake mentioned.
Outside gathering restrictions restrict spectator numbers to 2 pods of fifty individuals every. Employees say opening day would usually appeal to a lot bigger crowds. (Laura Meader/CBC)
He mentioned they’ve actually labored to sharpen their presentation, betting fashions, and rising who can see the races from Purple Shores.
“You have to attempt to stand out,” he mentioned.
Drake mentioned the general curiosity in Purple Shores’s harness racing has been good.
Drake mentioned though the pandemic meant there have been fewer in-person bets, complete wagering was up at Purple Shores — which has places in Charlottetown and Summerside — by 15 per cent.
“It is phenomenal once you assume we’re in a pandemic,” he mentioned.
Historic 12 months
The observe will mark 135 years of racing this 12 months, Drake mentioned, and there are some particular occasions deliberate.
“It is one of many oldest operating racetracks,” he mentioned. “It may be an thrilling summer season.”
Drake mentioned he is hoping for relaxed protocols, whether it is secure to take action. Ideally, he mentioned they’re hoping for one more Atlantic bubble and greater crowds to be allowed by someday in June.