The horse racing world like all areas of society continues to make changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health crisis. Racetracks across America have either adjourned live racing or prohibited anyone other than essential employees from entering.
Many tracks have cancelled or postponed meets during their respective April/May seasons. But racing continues at a few tracks across the country that have instituted strict safety screening protocols for essential employees who are already on the grounds to provide daily care for horses.
Last month, Churchill Downs announced the Kentucky Derby would be rescheduled to September 5th. The iconic Louisville track has also postponed the start of its spring meet, originally scheduled for April 25th.
NBC TV (having nothing else in the way of sports to broadcast) will present three hours of Kentucky Derby coverage on Saturday from 3-6 p.m. The three-hour telecast features “The First Saturday In May: AMERICAN PHAROAH’s Run to the Triple Crown,” which looks back at his down-to-the-wire Victory in the 141st Kentucky Derby, while introducing new stories and content.
Host Mike Tirico and analysts Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will provide remote commentary throughout the broadcast, while Kenny Rice will be on-site at Churchill Downs reporting horse racing news and perspective from the track.
During the telecast, fans will be provided with on-screen information on how they can help with COVID-19 relief.
Once the rescheduling of the Kentucky Derby was announced, Oaklawn Park decided to fill the derby void, and moved the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby from April 11th to May 2nd.
That race was besieged with entrants, and has been split into two divisions, which will anchor a spectacular closing-day card at the Hot Springs facility, that also includes the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap.
On Wednesday the Daily Racing Blog will begin to take a look at the Arkansas Derby, starting with division one. So stop back.