Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks to Have Spectators

The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks — which have been delayed four months until early September because of the coronavirus pandemic — will have spectators, Churchill Downs announced Thursday.

The announcement — which touted “strict guidelines” — comes less than a week after the Belmont Stakes was run without any fans at the track.

“Our team is deeply committed to holding the very best Kentucky Derby ever, and we will take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of all who attend and participate in the Derby,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have established a comprehensive set of operating procedures, which include a multitude of precautionary measures to be followed while fans are in attendance at our facility. We are determined to keep our customers, employees and communities as safe as we responsibly can.”

The Kentucky Oaks is set to be run Sept. 4, with the Kentucky Derby scheduled for Sept. 5.

The track announced that steps to be taken “to ensure guest and employee safety” include:

— venue capacity reductions to limit overall crowd density, including general admission, outdoor reserved seating, premium dining and suites. More information on ticketing and seating areas will be released in the coming days and also will be sent directly to ticket holders.;

— access throughout the facility will be severely limited;

— credentials for employees, media and guests will be reduced;

— barn area access will be restricted to essential personnel. Guests and parties in the barn area for morning workouts and during race days will be eliminated;

— changes in venue operations to limit person-to-person touchpoints;

— team member protocols established to protect employees and guests;

— a revised “Fan Code of Conduct” that establishes expectations for guests coming to the Derby;

— guests being “consistently and frequently encouraged to wear a mask at all times unless seated in their reserved seat or venue,” being asked to wash their hands for 20 seconds or sanitize them frequently and to socially distance themselves from others when possible.

The plan was developed in conjunction with advice and counsel set forth by the Louisville Metro Health Department and Kentucky’s Healthy at Work guidance, Churchill Downs officials said.

Additional information will be provided in the coming days at