Sunland Derby to be Held Spectator-Free

Annual Race is Still Scheduled to Take Place Next Sunday

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino announced today that the 17th annual Sunland Derby as well as the Sunland Parks Oaks will both run as scheduled next Sunday, March 22. However, due to recent concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, the race will be run spectator-free. Individuals who are licensed by the New Mexico Racing Commission and the media will be the only people in attendance. Sunland Park is restricting access to all racetrack viewing areas, including the grandstands, Franklin’s Lounge, the Turf Club, and trackside viewing. Live simulcasting of other races will also be closed for the foreseeable future.

On Thursday, the New Mexico Department of Health issued a Public Health Order restricting “mass gatherings.” The order is designed as a precautionary tool to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. “The Sunland Derby consistently draws record crowds to the track,” said Ethan Linder, director of marketing for Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. “We have to do our part to help slow the spread of this virus,” he added.

The casino, hotel, and restaurant at Sunland Park will remain open and operate their normal hours, as per the order.

To ensure we are providing the safest environment possible for customers, we have upgraded our disinfection protocols:

  • Property-wide daily disinfection with hospital-grade electrostatic sprayers to minimize the spread of viruses
  • Additional staff assigned to continuous disinfection of casino and restaurant
  • Increased the number of hand sanitizing and disinfecting wipe stations located throughout the property.

“Excitement always builds in March as horse racing fans look forward to seeing elite horses compete, and cheering on the next Sunland Derby winner,” said Linder. “But as we finalize the field for next week’s big day, we can’t overlook the situation with coronavirus occurring around the world. We will continue to monitor the situation and post updates,” he said.

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