It’s Final – No Fans At Kentucky Derby

Louisville area experiences increase in COVID-19

This year’s belated Gr1 Kentucky Derby will create history at Churchill Downs, and it’s not because of so many likely starters from lesser known stables.

Kentucky Derby post parade

Kentucky Derby post parade

Overnight, on Friday, Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) released a statement that said, despite its best efforts to accommodate a COVID-safe small number of spectators for the Run for The Rose, it has “made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans”.

The unprecedented step follows a significant increase in new COVID-19 cases in the Louisville area, with CDI noting, “Churchill Downs and all of our team members feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility as citizens of Louisville to do all we responsibly can to protect the health, safety and security of our community in these challenging times and believe that running the Derby without spectators is the best way to do that.”

According to, the decision to run without fans includes the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, September 4 and all live racing at Churchill Downs Racetrack for Derby week, September 1-5.

Only essential personnel and participants will be permitted on the property, leaving the start of the famous race with a hitherto unknown eerie quiet in the grandstand.

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