Spectators Allowed At The Derby

Churchill Downs Racetrack announced last week that after consultation with Governor Andy Beshear and state public health officials, the 146th running of both the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks will occur with spectators under strict guidelines.

The Oaks will run on Friday, September 4th and the Derby on Saturday, September 5th.

Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery stated last week: “Our team is deeply committed to holding the very best Kentucky Derby ever, and we will take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of all who attend and participate in the Derby.  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have established a comprehensive set of operating procedures, which include a multitude of precautionary measures to be followed while fans are in attendance at our facility.  We are determined to keep our customers, employees and communities as safe as we responsibly can.”

Some of the steps that will be taken to ensure guest and employee safety include: 

Venue capacity reductions to limit overall crowd density, including general admission, outdoor reserved seating, premium dining and suites.

General admission tickets will be limited to a specified number and only grant access to the infield.  No general admission will be allowed in the front side or paddock areas of the facility.

Access throughout the facility will be severely limited.

Credentials for employees, media and guests will be reduced.

Barn area access will be restricted to essential personnel.  Guests and parties in the barn area for morning workouts and during race days will be eliminated.

Changes in venue operations to limit person-to-person touch-points.

Team member protocols established to protect employees and guests.

A revised Fan Code of Conduct that establishes expectations for guests coming to the Derby.

Guests will be consistently and frequently encouraged to wear a mask at all times unless seated in their reserved seat or venue.  This includes when:

  • Riding on a shuttle
  • Traveling through the venue
  • Going to the restroom
  • Placing an in-person wager
  • Purchasing food or beverages from a concession stand
  • Guests will be asked to wash their hands for 20 seconds or sanitize them frequently.
  • Guests will be encouraged to socially distance themselves from others when possible.

Mr. Flanery went on to say:  “The impact of the Kentucky Derby extends well beyond the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs.  “It is an incredibly important time for the City of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky both culturally, economically and with respect to our time-honored traditions.  Both employees and guests are asked to take an active role in following all guidelines.  We must all do our part to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.”

So… maybe the Saratoga Race Course could float some of these same ideas to NYS health officials in regard to the second half of their meet?  Just sayin.  NYRA you listening?

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