Churchill Downs sets opening day; stakes schedule in the works

Churchill Downs sets opening day; stakes schedule in the works
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Churchill Downs Racetrack officials on Thursday determined that opening day of the 2020 Spring Meet will be Saturday, May 16.

After opening weekend on May 16-17, racing at the historic Louisville racetrack will be staged Thursdays through Sundays with a special holiday Monday card on Memorial Day, May 25. Post time for the first race each day will be 1 p.m. ET.

Vice President of Racing Ben Huffman is crafting a condition book for the schedule of races, including a revised stakes schedule, and it is expected to be released online this weekend so horsemen can begin preparing for those engagements. 

On Wednesday, Churchill Downs received approval from state officials to reopen its stable areas at both Churchill Downs Racetrack and the auxiliary training center Trackside on Monday, May 11 under strict guidelines to effectively mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

RELATED: See Churchill's full plan to keep horsemen safe

The stable areas will reopen under a phased, systematic approach. The following is a listing of racetracks and when horses based there may return to Churchill Downs’ stable areas between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.: 

 Fair Grounds in New Orleans, La. (May 11-13);

 Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Fla. and horses based at Florida training centers (May 14-16);

 Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. (May 17-19);

 All other locales (May 20)

Racing at Churchill Downs during the Spring Meet will be conducted spectator-free until government officials approve fans returning to the historic track. Only authorized racetrack employees and KHRC license holders who are providing support for a horse stabled at the facility will be permitted on property.

This specifically includes only trainers with horses stabled or racing on the facility grounds and those who are responsible for the care of the horses (veterinarians, grooms, exercise riders and farriers).

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