Skip to main content

Churchill Downs Announces New Decision On Fans At Kentucky Derby

Shot of Churchill Downs at the Kentucky Derby.

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Earlier this summer, Churchill Downs announced fans would be allowed to attend this year's running of the Kentucky Derby.

Unfortunately, two months later that decision has been reversed. On Friday afternoon, Churchill Down PR announced the Kentucky Derby will now be held without fans.

"The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together," the statement read. "However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern. Churchill Downs has worked diligently over the last several months to plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance."

Churchill Downs officials said they hoped their previous plan could have remained in place. However, with the current health crisis, it just wasn't possible.

"We were confident in that plan, but dedicated to remaining flexible using the best and most reliable information available," the statement continued. "With the current significant increases in COVID19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning. We have made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans."

It's a tough break for the fans who were scheduled to attend the event. However, given the state of the pandemic, it's the the correct decision.

The Kentucky Derby is scheduled to run on September 5.