Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has announced that the 2020 edition of the Kentucky Derby US horse racing event will be switched from May to September in response to the global outbreak of Covid-19.
The 146th Kentucky Derby had been due to run on May 2, in keeping with its traditional date of the first Saturday in May, but will now instead take place on September 5.
This year’s Kentucky Oaks race has also been switched from May 1 to the later date of September 4.
The new dates are subject upon final approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which CDI said it expects to receive later this week.
“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,” CDI’s chief executive Bill Carstanjen said.
“As the situation evolved, we reached the difficult conclusion that we needed to reschedule. At no point did we ever consider cancelling the Kentucky Derby.”
The Kentucky Derby is the latest sports event to be hit by the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Last week, all major sports leagues in North America, including the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer, were put on hold.
Elsewhere, the 2020 Grand National, the showpiece event of British horse racing, has been cancelled, while all British racing has been suspended until at least the end of April.