17 March 2020, Kentucky ~ Churchill Downs Incorporated announced today its decision 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 are expected by Thursday, March 19.
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 steadily made all necessary operational adjustments to provide the safest experience and environment. The most recent developments have led us to make some very difficult, but we believe, necessary decisions and our hearts are with those who have been or continue to be affected by this pandemic.
Previously scheduled for May 2, the Derby, which is a time-sensitive event given it’s restricted to 3-year-olds and begins the prestigious Triple Crown series, has been run 89 times on the first Saturday in May, including each year since 1946.
“Churchill is saying they’re not going to run the Derby without the people there,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Saturday from Santa Anita Park, where racing continued but with the track closed to the public. “So I’m hearing maybe June or in September.”
Further Racing Changes
France has become the first major racing country to call a halt to national race meets, reports Racingpost.com. Governing bodies France Galop and Le Trot met Monday to discuss the international COVID-19 pandemic, and announced the decision to cancel horse racing through April 15.
Update – UK Races Suspended
British Horseracing Authority (BHA) suspends racing until the end of April
Horseracing, just about the last bastion of professional sport still taking place in Britain, has gone the same way of all other sports after the British Horseracing Authority announced the suspension of all meetings until the end of April.
Tuesday’s meetings at Taunton and Wetherby, the first held in England behind closed doors, will be the last for at least six weeks with the suspension due to come into force tomorrow. The news came less than 24 hours after the Jockey Club announced that the 2020 Grand National had been cancelled.
The Arabian Racing Organization (ARO) is in constant contact with the BHA regarding current measures being taken as a result of Coronvirus and it’s effect on British horseracing.