USA—The Kentucy Derby, America’s biggest horseracing event, will now be held behind closed doors starting next month. This is the first time that this has happened in the event’s 150-year history.
The Churchill Downs race—which usually attracts a crowd of 150,000 and last year made a record $165.5 million in wagers—will be held without spectators on September 5. It was originally scheduled to be held on May but was moved to September due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), it planned to allow a limited crowd at the 146th Kentucky Derby, but the growing number of Covid-19 cases in Louisville and the greater Kentucky region led them to decide to bar fans in order to prioritize health concerns.
“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,” CDI said in a statement. “We deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans,” it added.