With yesterday’s news of the cancellation of the 2020 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and the first COVID-19 related death in the state, an announcement regarding the fate Kentucky Derby was imminent.
Churchill Downs released a formal statement this morning:
The 146th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve will be rescheduled from May 2, 2020 to September 5, 2020 and the 146th Longines Kentucky Oaks will be rescheduled from May 1, 2020 to September 4, 2020. These dates are contingent upon final approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission which we expect to receive on Thursday, March 19.
Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO, Bill Carstanjen, stated: “Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community. As the situation evolved, we steadily made all necessary operational adjustments to provide the safest experience and environment. The most recent developments have led us to make some very difficult, but we believe, necessary decisions and our hearts are with those who have been or continue to be affected by this pandemic.
Our team is united in our commitment to holding the very best Kentucky Derby ever and certainly the most unique in any of our lifetimes. While we are always respectful of the time-honored traditions of the Kentucky Derby, our Company’s true legacy is one of resilience, the embracing of change and unshakeable resolve.”
The postponement marks the first time the Derby will not be held on the first Saturday in May since 1945, when it was postponed to June 9 after the government issued a ban on horse racing due to World War II.
For the latest information on Derby Week, Spring Meet and details on ticketing as well as other relevant information regarding this change, you can visit KentuckyDerby.com/updates.