May Kentucky Derby In Jeopardy?

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic Churchill Downs Inc. will make an announcement at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday in regard to the timing of the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Currently the Run For The Roses is scheduled for May 2nd.  The Derby has always been a time-sensitive event given that it is restricted to 3-year-olds and begins the prestigious Triple Crown series.

There has been much speculation after a weekend dispatch from Churchill including a statement that in-part said; “…the time-honored traditions of the Kentucky Derby are as much about the fans as the race itself.”

Churchill is saying they’re not going to run the Derby without the people there,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Saturday from Santa Anita Park, where racing continued but with the track closed to the public.  “So I’m hearing maybe June or in September.”

Media personalities, including Kentucky Sports Radio‘s Matt Jones, whose radio show is among the most popular in the state, reported that Saturday, September 5th, is a likely new spot on the calendar.

NBC, which broadcasts the Derby, also carries Notre Dame football games in the fall.  The Irish are off that  particular afternoon.

Billed as the longest continuously held major sporting event in the U.S., the Derby has continued amid wars and The Great Depression, among other societal disruptions.  The Derby has run outside of May only twice, according to Churchill Downs‘ records: on April 29, 1901, and June 9, 1945.

There are numerous questions that need to be addressed at Tuesday’s announcement, including how will the current qualifying system of prep races factor; what becomes of the other two legs of the Triple Crown– the Preakness and Belmont Stakes; and whether this will prompt other changes to the summer racing calendar for events such as the Travers Stakes (G1) that runs in late August at Saratoga.

Continue checking back with the Daily Racing Blog for updates as to how the Corona Virus will disrupt the 2020 racing schedule.  Be safe, and wash your hands.

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