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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Churchill Downs Press Staff — Churchill Downs Racetrack announced today that it must delay the reopening of its stable areas at both Churchill Downs Racetrack and the auxiliary training center Trackside to at least Tuesday, May 5.

Churchill Downs officials are in ongoing discussions with state and local officials and public health experts about reopening its stable areas and conducting spectator-free racing under strict guidelines.

Churchill Downs, in conjunction with other Kentucky racetracks, has identified specific protocols to mitigate risks for its stabling and racing facilities as it relates to COVID-19.

A multitude of precautions and procedures based on criteria set by public health experts will be implemented to ensure the safety of employees, stakeholders and horses.

“We remain hopeful that our horsemen can safely return to work here in Kentucky sooner rather than later,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack.

“Horse racing is a unique agricultural business and serves as the prime economic driver for thousands of individuals in the Commonwealth. The Thoroughbreds we cherish need constant care and it’s a testament to our horsemen who have constantly cared for them this winter and spring in different locales under unique circumstances. We’re working hard to reopen in a responsible and safe environment that will satisfy our public officials.”

The opening of the 2020 Spring Meet, originally scheduled for April 25, also has been postponed and a determination of the exact starting date will be made closer to the opening of the stable areas. 

Churchill Downs’ stable areas have been closed since Dec. 31 for annual winter renovations and were originally scheduled to reopen Tuesday, March 17. Churchill Downs has delayed the reopening its stable areas in response to executive orders issued by Gov. Beshear to contain and limit the spread of COVID-19.

When the time is right to safely reopen, Churchill Downs will allow horses and their personnel to return to its stable areas under a phased, systematic and controlled approach.

Churchill Downs’ Spring Meet was originally scheduled for April 25-June 27. On March 17, it was announced that the 146th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve was rescheduled from Saturday, May 2 to Saturday, Sept. 5.

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