ELITLOPPET 2020 WILL BE ARRANGED AS PLAN
Solvalla has decided that Elitloppet 2020 will take place during the last weekend in May as previously planned and according to tradition.
- Elitloppet is an annual sporting highlight for many Swedes and we currently feel confident that we can conduct the competitions safely and responsibly, says Solvalla CEO Jörgen Forsberg
Elitloppet has been organized since 1952 and with the exception of the first year, the race has always been run around the turn of the month May / June. Elitloppet weekend is one of Sweden's largest folk festivals and usually attracts a total of 40,000 to 50,000 visits.
Due to the spread of the corona virus and the laws, regulations and directives that it has brought, Solvalla and all other Swedish horse racing tracks have closed down their public facilities since March 12. The arenas are today a strict workplace where only people who perform a job have access. As of today, there is no official decision on what will apply to the public seats when Elitloppet takes place.
- Our decision is made with reservation that the situation in our society does not worsen and that the conditions therefore change. As of today, most things point to the fact that we will arrange Elitloppet weekend without public spectators. Of course, I hope that our fantastic audience can be there, but if the prevailing conditions prevents it, Elitloppet weekend will still be implemented. We will make a final decision regarding the audience on May 4, says Jörgen Forsberg.
Elitloppet weekend will be broadcasted in Sweden on TV4 and TV12 as well as in ATG Live. In addition, Elitloppet can be seen in about 15 other countries.
- Our entire society is currently undergoing a very tough period. We are humble and realize that Elitloppet cannot change that situation. However, we hope that we will be able to contribute with world-class races, and fulfill the need for entertainment, in an otherwise difficult time. Therefore, I’m glad that trotting enthusiasts will be able to watch the fine races on TV if the opportunity to be at Solvalla is not given, concludes Jörgen Forsberg.
Changes in the races
The biggest change during this year's Elitloppet weekend is that Sweden Cup is discontinued. The race, which is otherwise open to 21 horses of close proximity to Elitloppet caliber, is popularly called Little Elitloppet.
- We cannot count on the addition of foreign elite horses and therefore there won’t be enough horses to arrange both Sweden Cup and Elitloppet this year, says Anders Malmrot, Sports Manager at Solvalla.
A new direct qualifying race for Elitloppet is introduced.
- The winner of the Meadow Road's race at Solvalla on May 13 will be invited to Elitloppet. As previously planned, the Paralympic race's final at Åbytravet April 25 and the Prince Daniel's race at Gävletravet May 23 are also among the direct qualifying races, says Anders Malmrot.
As an adaptation to the new conditions, a couple of races will receive lower prize money. The biggest changes affects the Harper Hanover's race and Montéeliten.
- This is because these races normally have many international participants, whereas this year, it will mainly be a settlement among Swedish horses, Anders Malmrot concludes.
Elitloppet is not affected by price cuts.
Questions and answers about Elitloppet
What has been decided?
- Solvalla has decided that Elitloppet 2020 will be arranged during the last weekend in May as previously planned and according to tradition. This year, it will occur from May 29 to May 31.
Why are you arranging Elitloppet given the current situation?
- Since we can arrange Elitloppet in a safe and secure way within the laws and regulations that exist right now, we have a responsibility to conduct the competitions. Trotting is the engine of the equestrian industry and it is important that we continue to compete as the equestrian industry employs thousands of people who are dependent on trot racing revenue. Continuing racing is crucial for every individual small business owner and employee within the industry and thus also important for society. We also know that trotting, and especially Elitloppet, is a glimmer of light for many and positive things are needed to look forward to in these times. The whole weekend is broadcasted on TV, so there is still the opportunity to watch the race if it is not possible to be in place.
Why don't you move Elitloppet to another date?
- The elite horses have been prepared for this weekend and at the same time it is difficult to find a time that works in both the national and international elite race calendar. We also do not know when in time we will be allowed to open up the public seats, so if we postpone Elitloppet later this summer, there is still no guarantee that public spectators will be allowed. Finally, there is a long tradition of always organizing Elitloppet during the last weekend in May.
What does it mean to us in the audience?
In all likelihood, this means that we will organize Elitloppet without an audience, but we do not know for sure yet as it is 6.5 weeks left until the last weekend in May. We therefore do not want to make a hasty decision which then proves to be wrong.
What does it mean for me who already bought a ticket?
Right now it means nothing because we do not know for sure what will apply during Elitloppet weekend. However, we will make a final decision on the public places on May 4 as both our guests and we as organizers need time to plan.
What do you do if you are allowed to open the public seats after the 4th of May?
Depending on when such a decision comes and exactly how it is designed, it is difficult to answer now. We may return if the situation arises.
Will you allow foreign horses and drivers?
Solvalla will not set its own rules for those who may compete. We will follow applicable laws and regulations as well as any directives from Swedish Trotting.
Will there be any changes in the races during Elitloppet weekend?
Yes, Sweden Cup on Saturday and the France match on Sunday will be canceled. There will also be new races to replace the Sweden Cup race. However, we have removed one race per day so that there will be twelve races on both Saturday and Sunday instead of 13.
Will there be any changes in the prize money purse during Elitloppet weekend?
Yes, a couple of races will have a lower purse and the biggest change is the reduced purse in Harper Hanover's race and Montéeliten. This is because these are normally races with many international participants, whereas this year, it will mainly be a settlement among Swedish horses. The winner’s share in Harper Hanover's race will be SEK 500,000 (formerly SEK 900,000) and in the Montéeliten SEK 200,000 (previously SEK 300,000).
Elitloppet is the main attraction during Elitloppet weekend, which will be held at Solvalla in Stockholm from May 29 to May 31, 2020. Elitloppet is an invitation race where 16 horses compete in two different heats with eight horses in each. The top four in each heat meet in the final.