For the first time in 75 years, the Kentucky Derby will not be a part of the first Saturday in May.
Amid growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, Churchill Downs will postpone the Derby from May 2 to Sept. 5, those close to the race confirmed to The Courier Journal. A formal announcement will be made on Tuesday at 9 a.m. EST.
The last time the Kentucky Derby wasn’t held on the first Saturday in May was in 1945, when the government issued a ban on horse racing because of World War II. The ban was lifted on V-E Day (May 8), and the Derby was held on June 9. The only other year the Derby wasn’t held in May was in 1901, when it was raced on April 29.
The Kentucky Derby is the latest major sporting event to be postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, joining the NCAA basketball tournaments and the Masters golf tournament. Professional basketball, baseball and hockey leagues also have suspended their seasons.
The Derby postponement is the latest move made by Churchill as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, the track announced it would delay the opening of its stable areas for two weeks until March 31. On Sunday, Churchill suspended operations at Derby City Gaming and its on-track simulcasting center. Churchill plans to reopen both March 30.
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Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; email@example.com; Twitter: @KentuckyDerbyCJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/jasonf.