LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The horses will be running at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, but with just one month to go before the event, the question remains: Will anyone be there to see it?
The idea of horses dashing to the finish line of the Kentucky Derby with no roar of excitement from the crowd is hard to imagine. However, since the decision in the spring to postpone the Derby, Louisville tourism officials have been watching the number of potential Derby visitors decline.
“It’s been shrinking,” Louisville Tourism President Karen Williams said, “and now hearing what Indy did, very potentially the governor may make his decision on Derby.”
Churchill Downs itself would feel the bite in lost ticket sales.
Louisville tourism also reports the occupancy rate of downtown hotels is already just 9%, down from 65%-70%.
”Fewer people on Millionaire’s Row, fewer people in the infield, fewer people around the paddock,” Steve Bittenbender, Senior Writer for Casino.org said. “That may have a more substantial impact than any reduction in betting has on Labor Day weekend.”
The decision to run the Indy 500 with no fans, despite the track’s massive infield and grandstands, may make it harder for some Derby fans to leave home.