Kentucky Derby To Be Held Sept. 5; Preakness, Belmont Stakes Dates Under Review

by | 03.17.2020 | 8:45am
Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Churchill Downs Incorporated announced its decision on Tuesday to reschedule the 146th Longines Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. The 146th Kentucky Derby will be rescheduled from May 2, 2020, to September 5, 2020, and the 146th Kentucky Oaks will be rescheduled from May 1, 2020, to September 4, 2020.

These dates are contingent upon final approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission which we expect to receive on Thursday, March 19.

Dates for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, the second and third legs, respectively, of horse racing's Triple Crown, are also under review, though no formal announcement has been made.CDI's CEO, Bill Carstanjen, stated: “Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community. As the situation evolved, we reached the difficult conclusion that we needed to reschedule. At no point did we ever consider canceling the Kentucky Derby.”

For the latest information on Derby Week, Spring Meet and details on ticketing as well as other relevant information regarding this change, please visit KentuckyDerby.com/updates.

NBC Sports, which has a contract with the Kentucky Derby through 2025, is also contracted to broadcast Notre Dame football. There is no Notre Dame game scheduled Sept. 5, and the University of Louisville football team has an away game that Saturday.

The Kentucky State Fair, held in Louisville, is scheduled to end on Aug. 30. Louisville hotels have also bumped up prices for Labor Day weekend in anticipation of Churchill's announcement.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Jockey Club, which hosts the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, issued the following statement concerning the Triple Crown's Middle Jewel, which was originally scheduled for May 16.

“Our first priority in these difficult times is the health and welfare of our industry participants and the public at large,” the MJC statement read. “We are working with state and local governments, our industry participants, media and other affiliates to determine the most appropriate time to conduct the Preakness Stakes. While we are mindful of the challenges these times present, we also know that events like the Preakness Stakes can help restore our sense of place and economic well-being to our communities and state. As soon as we have further clarity on these matters we will inform all.”

A statement from New York Racing Association president and CEO David O'Rourke said: “NYRA is working closely with all appropriate parties, including media rights holder NBC Sports, to make a determination about the timing of the 2020 Belmont Stakes. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend American life, decisions about large-scale public events must prioritize public health and safety above all else. NYRA will deliver an announcement only when that process has concluded to the satisfaction of state and local health departments. The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution with wide-reaching economic impact. We look forward to its 152nd edition in 2020.”

During a conference call on Tuesday morning, Bill Carstanjen, the CEO of CDI, indicated qualifying points races for the Kentucky Derby, some of which have been disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, could be added in the coming weeks and months.

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