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BREAKING: The Kentucky Derby will run without fans on Sept. 5

The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place without fans on Sept. 5.

After originally planning for limited attendance, Churchill Downs announced its decision to run the Derby without spectators, releasing the following statement:

“The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together. However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern,” the statement read. “Churchill Downs has worked diligently over the last several months to plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance. We were confident in that plan, but dedicated to remaining flexible using the best and most reliable information available. With the current significant increases in COVID19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning.

“We have made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans. Churchill Downs and all of our team members feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility as citizens of Louisville to do all we responsibly can to protect the health, safety and security of our community in these challenging times and believe that running the Derby without spectators is the best way to do that. We deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans.”

The decision comes with the support of Governor Andy Beshear, who highlighted the “red zone” in Louisville as a key reason for the change of events.

“The virus is still aggressively spreading in Kentucky, and the White House has announced that Jefferson County and the City of Louisville are in a ‘red zone’ based on increases in cases. This week alone the county had more than 2,300 new cases,” Gov. Beshear said. “I applaud Churchill Downs for continuing to monitor the virus and for making the right and responsible decision. I am asking all Kentuckians to take action to stop the spread of the virus so we can get back to the many traditions we enjoy, like the Kentucky Derby.”

“Since early May, decisions regarding this year’s Kentucky Derby have been made in consultation with public health authorities including data provided by medical experts at Norton Healthcare,” the statement continued. “Positivity rates in the more than 70,000 patients tested at Norton have gone from as low as 2% in June to a rapid escalation of 10% in recent days. “This is a critical point in time for our community,” said Russell F. Cox, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare.

“This remains a very fluid situation and every event should be evaluated based on the data available as close to the date of the event as possible. We appreciate and support Churchill Downs’ decision.”

“This year’s Kentucky Derby was never going to be the celebration we’re used to, but I could not be more grateful to our tremendous team members and community partners for all of their efforts. We’ve left no stones unturned and reached the right decision,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “We hope our fans, the Louisville community and our country find an opportunity over the coming weeks to reflect on the challenges we have faced this year as a community and as a nation, and work together toward a better and safer future.”

Additional information about Kentucky Derby 146:

  • The decision to run without fans includes Kentucky Oaks on Friday, September 4 and all live racing at Churchill Downs Racetrack for Derby week (September 1-5). Only essential personnel and participants will be permitted on property.
  • Ticket holders for all Derby week race dates and related programming, including Dawn at the Downs, will be automatically issued a refund.
  • NBC will televise coverage of the Kentucky Derby and undercard racing on September 5 from 2:30-7:30 p.m. ET. The 146th running of the Kentucky Oaks will be televised Friday, September 4 on NBCSN from 3-6 p.m. ET.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

30 Comments for BREAKING: The Kentucky Derby will run without fans on Sept. 5



  1. Corder
    4:27 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    So then what was the purpose of postponing it for this long?



    • Bluebird
      4:34 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      Presumably they were hoping that people would mask up and stay distant and get things relatively under control before September. Didn’t end up happening.



    • Corder
      8:00 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      I’m sure that’s why the virus is still going on. The virus was never going to just go away. So to say what you just said makes no since. Also increase in testing means we find out more people have it, doesn’t mean that same number wasn’t true for months ago when testing was limited. So nothing has changed from shut downs and mask wearing yet we still act like it’s all helping so much. The man has no back bone and just won’t come out and say “ you can’t do anything until a vaccine comes. “



  2. BigBlueFoo42777
    4:39 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    People have been masked up for a while and keeping their distance and the numbers are still up. The mask are a joke. This is going to run its course so all we can do is hope for the best.



    • Han
      5:34 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      Except that some people still won’t wear masks at all, and requiring them in stores doesn’t stop the people talking to their neighbors maskless or going to parties, etc. my FB feed is full of pictures of people interacting with friends without masks. Stores are the only place I see people wearing a mask as though that’s the only place it spreads.



    • Han
      5:45 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      Also, out of all the people I’ve seen in road crews or lawn care crews, out of the contractors I’ve seen in my neighborhood or had to use (HVAC, cable, trees), none of them are wearing masks. I know why they don’t–they’re uncomfortable when you’re working a job where you’re sweating all day. But nevertheless, they aren’t wearing masks or being careful about keeping their distance from customers, who also I often see without masks, as though the virus can’t be transmitted when you’re outside. Is it harder to transmit in the open air? Yeah, some, but when you’re standing literally next to the worker, being outside doesn’t save you.

      Masks help, but only if you wear them whenever you’re around other people (excepting the people you live with).



    • Corder
      8:04 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      I don’t know if you do manual labor or not and I’m the summer no less but trying to breath with a mask on is not something easily done. People have been passing out from lack of oxygen with their masks on when doing these hard working jobs. Sorry that people that work outside and do these types of jobs would rather not pass out on a mower or carrying heavy things and possible injuring themselves more just because you think they should.



    • Cousins Fake Tooth 2
      8:25 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      @Han because most people with a brain can see whats going on with covid. Its not about masks, its about the election. Is covid real? Yeah. Are the lefties using it as a political weapon any chance they get? Yeah. This is another reason they are pushing for mail in ballots. They have even stated it could take months to count. And you wonder why they are doing this? Because the constitution states that if there is not a winner decided by Jan 20th, then the Presidency is automatically given to Speaker of the House, which is, wait for it…Nancy Pelosi.



    • Bluehender
      9:41 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      Is that you Donald?



  3. eastofmidnight
    4:48 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    I suspect this has more to do with the planned Breonna Taylor protest than COVID.



  4. Headhurts
    5:22 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    ^^^^^^*nailed it



  5. bigblue98
    5:57 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    Jefferson County is a big problem. 17



  6. bigblue98
    6:02 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    Jefferson County is a big problem. 17% of state’s population, but 25% of the cases. Mask wearing should be mandatory, and unemployment pulled for those not wearing a mask. If you’re not willing to wear a mask then you shouldn’t get over 800 a week (state and federal subsidized unemployment). Don’t know how they could enforce, but no incentive for some of these young idiots to do the right thing.



    • Corder
      8:06 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      Not sure why we are incentivizing those who can work but chose not too. That’s the real problem not mandating everyone wear a mask at all times.



  7. kjd
    6:08 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    This is ZERO to do with COVID-19.
    This is about the safety of spectators. No justice, no peace! BLM & NFAC win. Churchill better be prepared to protect their buildings and property.



  8. Tej
    6:49 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    There is absolutely no evidence, none, nada, zero, that the protests caused or resulted in any increase in Covid infections. Of course, I’m sure the “alternative facts” will say otherwise.



    • Showstopper78
      6:54 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      So true but obviously that doesn’t fit the right narrative for those blaming protestors.



    • Corder
      8:08 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      Yet you sit here and say someone walking around outside without a mask on is a horrible person when crowds of people are huddled together screaming non stop without masks on are not causing any problems. Very sound logic on yalls part.



    • J. Did
      7:47 am August 22, 2020 Permalink

      Corder is correct. Some people are mindless dolts. Think, fools.



    • T-Town Cat
      11:54 am August 22, 2020 Permalink

      False. The report released a few weeks ago showed the highest incidence of positive test results and deaths are in the Zip Codes where most of the protestors live.



  9. Showstopper78
    6:53 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    Wow wondering who gets over 800 a week? Ui starts at 35 dollars so even with the 600 that no longer exists everyone is not getting over 800 a week. Plus this was done by Churchill downs not andy.



    • bigblue98
      7:36 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      Amount for state is $415, so someone making $10 hour would qualify. Then fed was paying $600 in addition, will soon be $400. So now will be making $815. For someone making $10-$12 hour no incentive when they’re making $20 hour sitting at home. Make them mask up.



  10. ScoggDog
    7:01 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    It’s a virus that, if you believe the info – stays alive on surfaces for hours. Supposedly lingers in the air. If that’s all true – you will never be able to go to any group even with zero risk of contracting it.

    And every decision made by every corporation today is being driven by a notion of zero risk.



  11. gasman01
    7:20 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    This is not about Covid at all. They had addressed that issue. This is about what might happen at the gates concerning the BLM militia and fans. Its so sad how things have changed in this country.



    • Cousins Fake Tooth 2
      8:21 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

      Terrorists, not militia.



    • J. Did
      8:08 am August 22, 2020 Permalink

      CFT2 = correct. BLM once meant something…then, the movement rapidly morphed… into Insurrectionary Anarchism.



  12. ziplock
    7:52 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    Wow these death rates are through the roof. we’re all gonna die! https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm



  13. Cousins Fake Tooth 2
    8:21 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    Need to stop letting the Burn Loot Murder terrorists stop things.



  14. light my fire
    11:16 pm August 21, 2020 Permalink

    Beshear is worst Governor in my lifetime



    • Bluehender
      3:14 pm August 22, 2020 Permalink

      Any of the other governors in your life have to deal with the coronavirus??