Rearranged Kentucky Derby to welcome spectators under strict guidelines
Spectators will be allowed into Churchill Downs to watch the Kentucky Derby in September, although strict guidelines will be in place.
After consultation with the governor of Kentucky and public health officials, the green light has been given to allow spectators to attend the 146th running of the US Classic, which is usually run on the first Saturday of May but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, was postponed until September 5.
The number of spectators permitted has yet to be announced, but those in attendance will have to follow guidelines. General admission tickets will only grant access to the infield, while the wearing of masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing will be encouraged. Access will also be limited throughout the site and credentials for employees, media, and guests will be reduced. Tickets for the original event have been confirmed as valid.
Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs, told Bloodhorse.com: "We truly appreciate the leadership of the governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, and all of the hard work, collaboration and guidance that state and local officials and public health experts have provided us to safely and responsibly host Kentucky Derby week in September with spectators.
"Our team is deeply committed to holding the 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."
He added: "In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have established a comprehensive set of operating procedures, which include a multitude of precautionary measures to be followed while fans are in attendance at our facility. We are determined to keep our customers, employees and communities as safe as we responsibly can."
Traditionally, the Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown, while the Belmont Stakes is the last leg. But the coronavirus pandemic has forced a reshuffle of the running order, meaning the Belmont Stakes, won by Tiz The Law last Saturday, became the opening challenge for Triple Crown hopefuls.
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com