The Kentucky Derby is going to be moved from the first Saturday in May to the first Saturday in September due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Churchill Downs will now host the iconic race on September 5.
"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 reached the difficult conclusion that we needed to reschedule. At no point did we ever consider canceling the Kentucky Derby," Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a news release.
In addition to postponing the race, all the other events planned for the weekend have been canceled. Officials hope to reschedule most of the events in September but cautioned that the schedule may be a bit different this year.
"The schedule may look a little different with events moving into a new timeframe, but our goal is to have Thunder Over Louisville, the miniMarathon, the Pegasus Parade, Fest-a-Ville, and the Chow Wagon, and many other events in between," Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO, said.
The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of horse racing's coveted Triple Crown. It is unknown if the Preakness Stakes or Belmont Stakes will reschedule their races. They are currently set for May 16 and June 6, respectively.
The last time the Kentucky Derby was rescheduled was in 1945 when the U.S. government banned horse racing during World War II.
To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
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