The Japan Racing Association held its first races March 19 since the nation was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami.
According to the Japan Times website, proceeds from the day’s racing at Hanshin and Kokura tracks will go to the victims of the nation’s worst natural disaster.
The newspaper reported that Nakayama Racecourse in Chiba Prefecture will remain closed at least until the end of the month. That area of the country is still experiencing rolling power blackouts and the transportation network is operating at far less than 100%.
“We want to do anything we can to help, even the smallest of things,” jockey Yutaka Take said following the day’s final race at Hanshin Racecourse in Hyogo.
According to The Japan Times, the Japanese flag was raised at half-mast at the two tracks. There was also a moment of silence observed prior to the first race and participating connections wore black armbands.
Take and the jockeys also personally pleaded for donations from the fans.