Kentucky Derby Postponed: From May 2 To September 5, 2020

Kentucky Derby Postponed: One of the most popular events in sports has been rescheduled from its traditional date on the first Saturday in May to Saturday, Sept. 5 due to health concerns regarding the coronavirus.

Churchill Downs, home of the Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, issued a statement at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday morning, saying that the 146th Derby will be rescheduled from “May 2, 2020 to September 5, 2020 and the 146th Kentucky Oaks will be rescheduled from May 1, 2020 to September 4, 2020.

Kentucky Derby Postponed

Horse Racing – Photo credit: Jim Safford

Bill Carstanjen, CDI’s CEO said: ‘Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community. As the situation evolved, we reached the difficult conclusion that we needed to reschedule. At no point did we ever consider canceling the Kentucky Derby.”

Kentucky Derby Postponed: First Time in 75 Years

This is the first time in 75 years the Derby won’t be held on the first Saturday in May. In 1945, the government banned horse racing during World War II, and was lifted on V-E Day, which was May 8, and the race was run on June 9.

This is so much different. First of all, who knows whether that date will work? On a conference this morning, CDI officials said more Derby prep races will be included into the current schedule and the points qualifying system will continue.
“We look to celebrate the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby with you in September,” Carstanjen added. “See you in September.”

With the change, Kevin Flannery, president of Churchill Downs, said while the decision has been made regarding the first leg of racing’s Triple Crown, discussions are underway between the Preakness , the Belmont Stakes and NBC (which televises all three races) to work on rescheduling dates. The idea would be to have the same Triple Crown setup between races.

The plan would call for the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore to be moved from May 16 to Sept. 19 (two weeks after the Derby), and the Belmont Stakes to be moved from June 6 to Oct. 10 (three weeks after the Preakness).

The Breeders’ Cup, considered racing’s year-end championships, is still scheduled for Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland.
In the past few days, two Derby preps offering qualifying points were canceled. Sunland Park in New Mexico canceled its race meet (and the Sunland Derby), and Keeneland canceled its lucrative spring meet (and the Blue Grass Stakes).
The Louisiana Derby, scheduled to be run Saturday at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans without spectators, is the next Kentucky Derby prep.

The Derby postponement follows the lead of some of sport’s showcase events, such as the Masters golf tournament and the Boston Marathon. Also, the NBA and NHL seasons have been suspended, the NCAA canceled all of its spring sports, including the men’s and women’s basketball tournament, and Major League Baseball has postponed opening day. Golf, soccer, tennis tournaments and auto races around the world also have been canceled or postponed.

Kentucky Derby Postponed: More details on the changes are expected to be released in the coming weeks, follow us for more!