The Kentucky Derby is being postponed from May to September because of growing concern about the coronavirus pandemic, according to a published report.
Citing unidentified sources close to the race, the Courier-Journal of Louisville said Churchill Downs will postpone the Derby from May 2 to Sept. 5, marking the first time in 75 years that the race won’t be run on the first Saturday in May.
A formal announcement will be made Tuesday.
The last time the Derby wasn’t held on the first Saturday in May was in 1945, when the federal government issued a ban on horse racing because of World War II. The ban was lifted on May 8, and the Derby was held on June 9. The only other year the Derby wasn’t held in May was in 1901, when it was raced on April 29.
The Derby is the latest major sporting event to be postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, joining the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments and the Masters golf tournament. Professional basketball, baseball and hockey leagues also have suspended their seasons.
The Churchill Downs website said decisions will be announced soon: “we expect to have an update about the Kentucky Derby and additional information on our upcoming Spring Meet in the coming week.”
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.