The COVID-19 virus has forced the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of horse racing’s triple crown, to be rescheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5, Labor Day weekend. Typically, Labor Day weekend is active for races locally at Kentucky Downs.
Kentucky Downs has now rescheduled their live racing dates to accommodate “The Run for the Roses.” Live racing will now take place Monday, Sept. 7, Wednesday, Sept. 9, Thursday, Sept. 10, Saturday, Sept. 12, Sunday, Sept. 13 and Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Ted Nicholson, senior vice president and general manager of Kentucky Downs, issued a press release on the impact of COVID-19 and the rescheduling of Kentucky Derby Week at Churchill Downs to September, with the Derby two days before Kentucky Downs’ 2020 meet.
“At this point, it’s too early to tell the impact that the rescheduled Kentucky Derby will have on our race meet that begins two days later,” he said in a release. “In order to help Churchill Downs out to where they have a full week heading into the Derby, we gave up our scheduled opening day of Sept. 2 and now we’ll instead finish later by adding Wednesday, Sept. 16. So we’ll now be starting on Labor Day, which will be a little different than any meet we’ve ever run. I still think we’ll have a great meet. But it’s tough to project anything more; it’s still too far out and too many moving parts, including when the country can get safely back to business with this global COVID-19 crisis.”
“Everybody is shut down, any service business, non-essential business has been shuttered,” he said. “Obviously, we’re just waiting for the governor to give us the high sign. When the state is ready to reopen, we’ll be ready to get back rolling again. We understand this is a major disruption of everybody’s life; it’s impacted our guests and certainly our employees. We feel for folks who have been laid off temporarily. We look forward to getting them back as soon as we possibly can.”