Kentucky Derby reverses course, will run without fans

U.S. & World

FILE – In this May 4, 2019, file photo, Luis Saez rides Maximum Security, right, across the finish line first against Flavien Prat on Country House during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Citing unidentified sources close to the race, the Courier-Journal of Louisville said Churchill Downs will postpone the Derby from May 2, 2020, to Sept. 5, making it the first time in 75 years that the race won’t be run on the first Saturday in May. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Next month’s Kentucky Derby will run without fans at Churchill Downs. The historic track citied rises in COVID-19 cases in the Louisville area.

It will mark the second Triple Crown race this year without spectators, following the Belmont Stakes in June. The Derby and Kentucky Oaks for fillies were postponed from May 1-2 to Sept. 4-5 because of the coronavirus.

Churchill Downs recently announced an attendance limit of 23,000 for the 146th Derby as part of a 62-page health and safety plan for horse racing’s marquee event.

“We were confident in that plan, but dedicated to remaining flexible using the best and most reliable information available,” the track said in a statement. “With the current significant increases in COVID-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning.

“We deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans.”

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