Kentucky Derby Will Be Run Without Fans at Track

The Kentucky Derby will be run without fans at the track for the race Sept. 5, Churchill Downs Inc. announced Friday.

In a statement, Churchill Downs noted that it had “worked diligently over the last several months to plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance,” but needed to revisit its planning “in light of current significant increases of COVID-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region.”

“Churchill Downs and all of our team members feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility 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,” Churchill Downs said in the statement. “We deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans.”

The decision also affects the Kentucky Oaks and all live races at Churchill Downs during Derby week (Sept. 1-5), with only essential personnel and participants permitted at the track.

Ticket-holders for all Derby week race dates and related programming will automatically be issued a refund, according to Churchill Downs.

The Belmont Stakes — the first leg of the Triple Crown races this year — was run June 20 in New York without any fans on hand.