Churchill Downs Incorporated has announced its Kentucky Derby horseracing event will take place without a crowd next month, for the first time in the race’s history.
The race had already been rescheduled from its original May date to 5 September, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The racetrack operator worked with the relevant stake holders over the past several months to allow a limited number of spectators in attendance, previously announcing plans for 23,000 fans to attend.
Despite Churchill Downs being confident with the plan to allow a limited crowd, significant increases in COVID-19 cases in Louisville and the region, has led to the decision to conduct the 146th Kentucky Derby behind closed doors, to protect the health, safety and security of the community.
More than 150,000 attended the race in 2019.but now only essential personnel and participants will be permitted to enter.
In addition to the Derby, no fans will be allowed to enter the Kentucky Oaks on 4 September, and all live racing at the racetrack for Derby week from 1 to 5 September.
Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO Bill Carstanjen, said: “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.”