Kentucky Derby postponed to September, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Kentucky Derby postponed to September

This year's Kentucky Derby has been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It is the first time the US racing showpiece has been postponed since 1945, when the race was eventually held in June due to World War II.

Traditionally held each year on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, this year's race will now take place on Sept 5.

Churchill Downs chief executive Bill Carstanjen said on Tuesday the escalating Covid-19 crisis had left race organisers with no choice but to delay the race.

"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," said Carstanjen.

"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."

The Kentucky Derby is the first and most prestigious leg of US racing's Triple Crown. It is followed by the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes in New ork.

The Derby is renowned for its huge crowds, with more than 150,000 fans thronging Churchill Downs racetrack to watch the spectacle in recent years.

It is the latest high-profile sporting event to be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. - AFP