This is only the second time in history the Derby hasn't been run on the first Saturday in May.
The Run for the Roses is a huge event, often drawing more than 150,000 attendees every year. And this year, unfortunately, that's not a great thing, as it definitely constitutes the type of large gathering we want to avoid because of coronavirus.
In order to help with COVID-19 efforts, the greatest two minutes in sports will not be held the first Saturday in May, but will instead be held the first Saturday in September. The Kentucky Oaks will run on Friday, September 4, and the Derby will sun on September 5. It's only the second time the race has been postponed in its history; the first being a postponement to June during WWII in 1945.
“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," said Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO, Bill Carstanjen.
After the Derby announcement, the Preakness also decided to postpone until September. The Belmont has not announced a decision on postponement, as of yet.
“NYRA is working closely with all appropriate parties, including media rights holder NBC Sports, to make a determination about the timing of the 2020 Belmont Stakes. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend American life, decisions about large-scale public events must prioritize public health and safety above all else. NYRA will deliver an announcement only when that process has concluded to the satisfaction of state and local health departments. The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution with wide-reaching economic impact. We look forward to its 152nd edition in 2020,” the New York Racing Association stated on Tuesday morning.
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