By Cole Emery–
The Kentucky Derby will have a different look this year as Churchill Downs officials announced there will be no fans in attendance this year. This came after they planned for a limited attendance of 23,000 guests.
The Kentucky Derby has been held every year since 1875 and has been run on the first Saturday in May every year since 1946. “Louisville is fortunate to have America’s longest continuously held sporting event and the brand awareness associated with this grand tradition,” said Karen Williams, president and CEO of Louisville Tourism.
The good news is that the tradition will continue this year amidst the global pandemic that has reshaped the world since March. The bad news is that the 146th running of this iconic race will be the strangest in history.
“Churchill Downs has worked diligently over the last several months to plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance,” reads a Churchill Downs statement. “We were confident in that plan, but … with the current significant increases in COVID-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning.”
The decision came after Jefferson County, where Louisville is located, was deemed a “red zone” in terms of coronavirus cases and considered in a “critical” situation. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear agreed with the decision, calling it, “right and responsible,” according toWLKY.