The 146th Kentucky Derby has been put on hold until September due to the threat posed by coronavirus.
Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has announced that the 2020 Kentucky Derby will be postponed until September in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kentucky Derby, which was initially set to run on May 2, will now instead take place on September 5. On top of this, the Kentucky Oaks race has been rescheduled from May 1 to September 4.
What did Churchill Downs say?
According to the press release the revised dates are subject to final approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, but CDI expects to receive approval on Thursday 19 March.
CDI’s 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 reached the difficult conclusion that we needed to reschedule. At no point did we ever consider cancelling the Kentucky Derby.”
The Kentucky Derby is the latest sporting event to be postponed by the outbreak of coronavirus.
Coronavirus shuts down sports
In response to the epidemic, several sports leagues have put their events on hold due to health concerns. In the US, the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, decided to postpone sporting events indefinitely after a player for the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. The NCAA has also put March Madness on hold.
In the UK, the Jockey Club, the governing body of horseracing in the UK, announced that the 2020 Randox Health Grand National Festival will not take place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The English Premier League (EPL), FA, EFL and WSL have also agreed to postpone all professional matches in England due to the spread of coronavirus. Italy’s football division Serie A has also postponed all games until April 3, while Spain’s La Liga has put the next two rounds of games on hold.
Formula 1 has also suspended its season-opening Australian Grand Prix in response to an outcry from drivers and team members. Prior to this decision, McLaren already withdrew for, the race after one its team members tested positive for the virus.