Kentucky Derby Postponed Until September Due to COVID-19 Concerns

  • Churchill Downs has postponed the race from May 2 to September 5
  • Derby has attracted 150,000 to 170,000 spectators in recent years
  • Tickets valid for the new date, refunds issued for those who cannot attend
flat horse race
For the first time since horse racing was banned during World War II, the Kentucky Derby will not take place on the first Saturday in May. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Postponed to fall

For 75 years, the Kentucky Derby has taken place on the same date. However, due to concerns raised over COVID-19, Churchill Downs has postponed the Running of the Roses from May 2 to September 5.

The last time the prestigious race did not take place on the first Saturday in May was in 1945. At the time, the government banned horse racing due to World War II. The Derby took place one month later in June.

Protecting guests, team members, and the community

The Kentucky Derby has been postponed until Saturday, September 5. The Kentucky Oaks, the filly equivalent race, will take place on September 4. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission must officially approve the date change, and it is expected to do so on Thursday.

Kentucky Derby has been postponed until Saturday, September 5

Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen commented that because COVID-19 has spread around the globe so rapidly, the first priority of the company was to determine the best way to protect the health and safety of guests and team members, as well as the community.

Carstanjen also said: “As the situation evolved, we steadily made all necessary operational adjustments to provide the safest experience and environment.”

The decision to change the date of the Kentucky Derby was a difficult but necessary one for the company due to the race being steeped in tradition.

The event usually attracts 150,000 to 170,000 spectators. The Trump administration’s new guidelines recommend that people should not gather in groups of 10 or more people.

Tickets and refunds

Individuals who have purchased tickets to the Derby or the Oaks will be able to use their tickets for the new race dates.

Attendees can scan their printed or mobile ticket to attend the meeting in September. The Derby plans to send information on new ticket shipments in the near future.

Refund information will be updated later this week for those who cannot attend the race on the new date in September. This policy will apply to tickets purchased via Derby Experiences, Churchill Downs, or Ticketmaster.

Horse racing spectator-free in Britain

COVID-19 is affecting horse racing in other parts of the world as well. In Britain, the British Horseracing Authority has issued a decree that horse racing will take place without spectators.

Scheduled meetings will take place behind closed doors with a limit on how many people will be in attendance. Some events in Britain will continue as scheduled, while future events may be canceled, depending on how the virus progresses.