Kentucky Derby nixes plan to have fans in stands

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Barely a week after it was announced the delayed Kentucky Derby would be contested with a limited number of fans, a revised plan Friday will prohibit any fans from being admitted into Churchill Downs on Sept. 5 for the Triple Crown race.

In a statement from the Louisville, Ky., track on Friday, the change in plans was because of rising COVID-19 numbers in the local area as well as across the region.

“We have made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 without fans,” the Churchill Downs release said. “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. We deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans.”

Typically held on the first Saturday in May, the 146th Kentucky Derby was rescheduled to early next month due to the pandemic.

While typically the first of three Triple Crown races, the Kentucky Derby will be the second race this year’s order. The Belmont Stakes, usually the third race, took place June 20 at Elmont, N.Y., with Tiz the Law winning the race. The Preakness Stakes was rescheduled for Oct. 3.

On Aug. 12, Kentucky Derby officials announced a plan for the race to be contested with approximately 23,000 fans in attendance. That number would have been nearly 14 percent of the record 170,513 attendance set in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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