After nearly every event in the sports world being canceled, postponed or suspended amid the COVID-19 outbreak, organizers of the Kentucky Derby are planning to announce their decision on this year’s race at Churchill Downs in the coming week.
The race is currently set for May 2, and can draw as many as 160,000 fans.
“This is not a decision we take lightly, and we expect to have an update about the Kentucky Derby and additional information on our upcoming Spring Meet in the coming week,” organizers said Saturday, via the Louisville Courier Journal.
“We are mindfully aware of our fans who travel from great distances to join us as well as our valued employees whose most intense preparations to host a world-class event begin now.”
Famed trainer and five-time winner Bob Baffert, however, said he believes they are planning to push the race back several months.
“Nobody’s really sure when anything is going to happen,” Baffert said Saturday at Santa Anita Park in Southern California, via the Courier Journal. “Churchill is saying they’re not going to run the Derby without people there, so I’m hearing maybe June or September.”
The race is always held on the first Saturday in May. The only time it hasn’t been held on that date was in 1945, when it was pushed to June due to World War II, per the report.
Baffert said he realized how serious the outbreak is after The Masters was postponed.
“Whenever they cancel The Masters, that’s like the Derby,” Baffert said, via the Courier Journal. “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s kind of scary. Hopefully they can get everything under control.”
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