Churchill Downs to Host Virtual Kentucky Derby for Charity

  • 13 Triple Crown winners from the past century set to run against each other on May 2
  • Racing fans are being encouraged to watch the race and donate to COVID-19 relief efforts
  • Simulated race created by Inspired Entertainment following successful Virtual Grand National
horse coming first on hippodrome racetrack
A computer-simulated version of the Kentucky Derby will be televised on NBC on May 2 after COVID-19 forced the real race to be postponed until September 5. [Image:]

Race will be televised on NBC

Churchill Downs is hosting a computer-simulated version of the Kentucky Derby on May 2 to raise money for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts in the United States.

In March, Churchill Downs announced that the 146th Kentucky Derby would be postponed from May 2 to September 5 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

to raise money for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts in the United States

To fill the void that the postponed race has left, Churchill Downs is hosting a day-long at-home Kentucky Derby. The event will be televised on NBC.

Created by Inspired Entertainment

Churchill Downs has teamed up with Inspired Entertainment to host the virtual race. The officially titled “Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown” will feature 13 previous Triple Crown winners. Data algorithms will be used to determine the probability of which position each horse would finish.

Kentucky Derby fans can visit the official website of the race to participate in a contest. Players can choose which horse they think will win the virtual race. The winning player will receive a VIP experience package for the Kentucky Derby in the fall.

Fans can also provide donations to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. Churchill Downs has agreed to match up to $1m in donations. Funds will go to the Team Kentucky Fund and Direct Relief.

Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack, commented that for many fans, the first Saturday in May is an annual family tradition. The group looks forward to the event taking place this September but will celebrate the annual excitement by offering a virtual event next month.

Churchill Downs chief executive Bill Carstanjen said:

We urge fans to join us by donating and celebrating with us from home.”

Virtual Grand National

Inspired Entertainment has been busy creating virtual horse races during the COVID-19 pandemic. In early April, Inspired created a simulated version of the Aintree Grand National, titled the Virtual Grand National.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) approved the virtual race and UK sportsbooks agreed to donate profits to the NHS Charities Together organization. Operators accepted wagers on the race with players able to wager up to £10 ($12) each way per horse.

Once the virtual race was over, a total of £2.6m ($3.19m) was donated to charity. The winner of the Virtual Grand National was Potters Corner.

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