After a four-month delay due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Churchill Downs will host the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby this weekend.
Traditionally the opening leg of the Triple Crown, the spring classic was one of the several events falling victim of the COVID-19 outbreak, which forced organizers to reschedule the race from May 2 to September 5.
The first postponement since 1945 meant the race was replaced in its traditional slot as Triple Crown opener by the Belmont Stakes, which was in itself postponed by two weeks in June, and will be followed next month by the Preakness Stakes.
As was the case for the Belmont Stakes in June, racing will be vastly different this weekend. Save for the jockeys and trainers, Churchill Downs is set to be desolately empty on Saturday, with the Kentucky Derby set to join the list of flagship sporting events to be held behind closed doors in the age of coronavirus.
Organizers had hoped to allow a limited number of fans into the track on Saturday, but the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the Louisville region convinced them it would be safer to held the event behind closed doors.
“Churchill Downs has worked diligently over the last several months to plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance,” organizers said in a statement.
“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 COVID-19 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 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.”
Here’s everything you need to know to follow the action.
When and where is the Kentucky Derby?
The 146th edition of the so-called “Run for the Roses” takes place Saturday, September 5, in its traditional home of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, which has hosted the 1.4-mile race since it was first held in 1875.
Traditionally the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby will be the second of the three famous races this year after the novel coronavirus outbreak forced it to be postponed from May 2 to this weekend.
Post time is scheduled for 7:01 p.m. ET.
The Kentucky Derby will be broadcast live by NBC, with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET and encompassing other graded stakes races from Churchill Downs.
The race will be available on NBC digital platforms, including NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
- Finnick The Fierce
- Max Player
- Storm The Court
- Major Fed
- King Guillermo
- Money Moves
- South Bend
- Mr. Big News
- Thousand Words
- Necker Islan
- Sole Volante
- Attachment Rate
- Winning Impression
- NY Traffic
- Honor A.P.
- Tiz The Law
Belmont Stakes winner Tiz The Law is the bookmakers’ favorite at 3/5, followed by Honor A.P. and Authentic at 5/1 and 8/1 respectively.
Art Collector was a second-favorite at 9/2 but was withdrawn from the race on Tuesday morning because of “a minor foot ailment.”