Will Kentucky Derby have Spectators?

Following four months of discussion with local and state health, safety and government officials, Churchill Downs published a 62-page plan for conducting the 146th variant of America’s most famous horse race.

“Our extensive plan meets or surpasses all advocated state and local guidelines. We have received an exceptional amount of support from regulators, medical experts and public health authorities and we’re going to continue to carefully work together to ensure we are doing what we can to keep our customers, employees and communities safe.”

Kentucky Derby (2019)

Kentucky Derby (2019) – Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs

The Derby was rescheduled to Sept. 5 from its original date on the first Saturday in May because of the coronavirus pandemic. With many significant races canceled or rescheduled, the Derby now becomes the next leg of the Triple Crown.

Pre-purchased GA tickets will be reimbursed.

Also, there aren’t any SRO or”Walk About” tickets. The plan calls for outside ticket holders to be reseated in a”new similar location either before or during the event to provide for optimum distancing.”

The Belmont Stakes in New York was held with no audiences, and access was restricted, even for horse owners. More alterations could be made by Churchill Downs, based on the upcoming few weeks leading up to the Derby.

“We have fewer guests in this year’s Derby as reducing the size of this audience is an important step to ensuring a secure environment,” Flanery said. “Medical best practices and practices — many of which we’ve implemented in consultation with experts both inside and outside the sport sector — will be executed, and we are going to make adjustments all of the way up to Derby Day as we find ways to enhance and continue to stick to ever-evolving best practices”

Flanery went on to state how significant the Derby is to the Louisville community and the rest of the nation at a turbulent time.

“Over recent months, our nation has faced the spread of COVID-19 and a moment of national reckoning with racial inequities after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others,” Flanery said. “These critical issues deserve thoughtful conversation, continued conversation and subsequent actions. To this end, the air at this year’s Kentucky Derby won’t be the party it normally is. However, we are optimistic that this time-honored occasion, which belongs to our community and our nation, will act as a progressive unifying force which could help bring us together.”