Churchill Downs preparing update on Kentucky Derby next week amid coronavirus concerns

Churchill Downs preparing update on Kentucky Derby next week amid coronavirus concerns
Churchill Downs staff has been working with health experts and authorities to make a decision on the timing of this year’s running of the Kentucky Derby. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Churchill Downs announced Saturday that it would be providing an update on the Kentucky Derby and their upcoming Spring Meet next week following coronavirus concerns.

In a press release sent by Churchill Downs, staff has been working with health experts and authorities to make a decision on the timing of this year’s running of the Kentucky Derby.

This comes after multiple sports leagues, including the NBA, NHL, and MLS postponed and delayed their current and upcoming seasons to avoid spread of the virus.

“We recognize that the impact of this iconic event extends well beyond the historic racetrack of Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby is a cherished and important time for the City of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We are mindfully aware of our fans, who travel from great distances to join us, as well as our valued employees, whose most intense preparations to host a world-class event begin now," Churchill Downs said in the release.

Trainer Bob Baffert spoke at Santa Anita Park on Saturday about the possibility of the Kentucky Derby running later in the year.

“Churchill (Downs) is saying they’re not going to run the Derby without the people there, so I’m hearing maybe June or in September,” Baffert said in a release by Santa Anita. “Whenever they cancel the Masters (PGA Golf Tournament), that’s like the Derby...I’ve never seen anything like this, it’s kinda scary.”

Baffert’s comments were taken after the trainer’s horse Charlatan won the sixth race at Santa Anita Saturday by 10 1/4 lengths.

While no official word has been given yet, Churchill Downs said the decision will not be taken lightly and that an update will be provided at some time in the coming week.

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