First the good news, which to thousands of Kentucky Derby fans is a relief because the 2020 festival wasn’t canceled but merely rescheduled on September 05. Although Churchill Downs officials could have proceeded by running the race without spectators, they opted for a postponement instead.
They cannot imagine holding the 146th racing event without the attendance of eager fans. After all, the Kentucky Derby Festival ()KDF) is more than just the excitement of watching a 2-minute race. Bill Carstanjen, the CEO of Churchill Downs voiced confidence in announcing that
”We are going to run the 146th Kentucky Derby and intend to run it with a crowd because it’s a participatory event.”
Even if the horse race will last only two minutes, the KDF is one such event where the socializing and partying can go on for a week. It’s that time of the year where the womenfolk can put on the most unique derby hats. Through the years, derby hats have become more fashionable than ever, to a point that they can attract more attention than the thoroughbreds and fillies.
However, hold your horses just yet. The bad news is that this year’s Kentucky Derby Festival will be different because of the restrictions that must be observed while the health crisis is still ongoing. .
Churchill Downs to Run the Race with Certain Changes
Despite the relatively low number of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky, safe-distancing is still of utmost importance, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) will be allowing only a specific number of fans inside the racing facility on the day the most exciting two-minute race takes place.
The normal 150,000 capacity will be reduced by 60% in the general admission area and by 50% in the reserved seats. However, as all the reserved seats have already been paid for, CDI officials hope that some will voluntarily settle for refunds instead.
All guests and spectators will be required to wear face masks and to sit only in designated seats, as arrangements will be made to put a distance between occupants.
Certain changes in venue operations include limiting touch-point areas and restricting the barns only to essential personnel.
The Fan Code of Conduct will include asking guests and fans to remain in their seat and avoid gathering as a crowd. Safe distancing must be observed while riding the shuttle and while inside the restroom, as well as when placing wagers or buying food and beverages.
The KDF organizers are yet to confirm if the other traditional features such as the half and full marathons, the hot-air balloon events, the steamboat race and the Pegasus Parade are still on.
As an aside, check for updates at Past the Wire, which also recommends that when looking for comprehensive information about thoroughbreds farms, horse breeding and pedigree analysis, the best source of information is BloodHorse