Kentucky Derby to Take Place Without Fans on September 5

August 21, 2020

    The Kentucky Derby is the latest event to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

    On Friday, organizers announced that the event will take place without an audience on Sept. 5 this year.

    "We have made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans," said a statement by event organizer Churchill Downs Incorporated.

    The decision comes months after the event was postponed due to COVID-19. The statement explains that despite initial attempts to "plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance," CDI ultimately decided to go audience-free with safety in mind.

    "The health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern," the organization said.

    According to the release, the decision was made in close consultation with public safety officials and with the approval of Gov. Andy Beshear.

    “The virus is still aggressively spreading in Kentucky, and the White House has announced that Jefferson County and the City of Louisville are in a ‘red zone’ based on increases in cases. This week alone the county had more than 2,300 new cases,” Beshear was quoted as saying in the statement.

    He added: “I applaud Churchill Downs for continuing to monitor the virus and for making the right and responsible decision. I am asking all Kentuckians to take action to stop the spread of the virus so we can get back to the many traditions we enjoy, like the Kentucky Derby.”

    The decision to run without fans includes Kentucky Oaks on Sept. 4 and all live racing at Churchill Downs Racetrack for Derby week, which takes place Sept. 1-5.

    Ticket holders will be automatically issued a refund.

    This is the 146th Kentucky Derby.

    NBC will televise coverage of the event, as well as undercard racing, on September 5 from 2:30-7:30 p.m. ET.

    The 146th running of the Kentucky Oaks will be televised Friday, September 4 on NBCSN from 3-6 p.m. ET.

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