Churchill Downs says the rescheduled Kentucky Derby and Oaks will run this fall. Spectators will be allowed under strict guidelines to limit crowd density.
The race annually attracts more than 100,000 spectators.
The 146th runnings of the Oaks for fillies and the Derby were postponed from May 1-2 to Sept. 4-5 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It marked the first time since 1945 that horse racing’s marquee event was not run on the first Saturday in May.
Churchill Downs has run its delayed spring meet without spectators, but track officials had expressed a desire for the Derby to go off with spectators.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and local health officials decided that Churchill Downs will reduce capacity. Affected areas are general admission, outdoor reserved seating, premium dining, and suites.
Fans will be “consistently and frequently” encouraged to wear masks at all times unless seated. Also, to practice social distancing when possible and to wash or sanitize hands frequently.
“Our team is deeply committed to holding the very best Kentucky Derby ever, and we will take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of all who attend and participate in the Derby,” Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery said.
Operations will be changed to limit person-to-person touchpoints.
Track access will be limited, with the barns restricted to essential personnel. In addition, parties in the barn area for morning workouts and race days will be eliminated.
Churchill Downs will announce information on tickets and seating in the coming days.
On Saturday, heavily favored Tiz the Law won an unprecedented Belmont. The horse claimed victory at the first race of a reconfigured Triple Crown schedule.
It barred fans due to the pandemic.