For the primary time since World War II, the Kentucky Derby is not going to happen on the primary Saturday in May.
The Derby, the primary jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown, grew to become the newest marquee sporting occasion compelled to postpone as a result of of the deepening coronavirus pandemic.
Tonya Abeln, a spokeswoman for Churchill Downs, mentioned in an e-mail on Monday night time that the race wouldn’t go forward as scheduled.
Churchill Downs will maintain a convention name on Tuesday morning to announce a make-up date for the race, which is anticipated to be Sept. 5. The Courier-Journal newspaper in Louisville, Ky., the place the race is held, had earlier reported the postponement and the brand new date.
The postponement got here as Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky ordered colleges and eating places closed to attempt to stop the unfold of the virus within the state, the place it has killed at the very least one individual. Mr. Beshear, like many of his counterparts, urged the general public to cancel gatherings.
The Derby, which promotes itself because the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” recurrently attracts greater than 150,000 spectators to the famed racetrack with its twin spires. Many of them sip on mint juleps and it’s customary for ladies to put on ornate hats to the race.
Kentucky officers additionally introduced on Monday that they had been postponing the state’s presidential primary from May 19 to June 23 because of the health emergency.
Keeneland, a racecourse in Lexington, Ky., that is home to the Blue Grass Stakes, said that it was canceling the spring race meet as well.
The coronavirus has transformed the sporting landscape. The N.B.A., the N.H.L., Major League Baseball and NASCAR have all suspended competition, and the N.C.A.A. canceled all of its championships. And the Masters golf tournament has been postponed.
Racetracks across the country have been shuttered to the public, but races are still being run and bets are still being welcomed. According to The Courier-Journal, the Derby and the weeks of celebration that surround it infuse the region with about $400 million yearly.
In 1945, the Kentucky Derby was held on June 9, about a month after the government lifted a ban on horse racing that it put in place because of World War II. The only other year the race did not take place on the first Saturday in May was in 1901.
Last year’s Derby, the 145th, ended in controversy after a 21-minute video review. Although Maximum Security crossed the finish line first, the horse was ultimately disqualified for impeding an opponent. Instead, Country House was declared the victor at 65-1 odds.
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