'We remain hopeful'; Churchill Downs' Spring Meet postponed

'We remain hopeful'; Churchill Downs' Spring Meet postponed
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

After consultation with local and state public health officials amid public health concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Churchill Downs Racetrack announced Tuesday that it will extend the delay in the reopening of its stable areas at both Churchill Downs Racetrack and the auxiliary training center Trackside to April 28.

The opening of the 2020 Spring Meet, originally scheduled for April 25, 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 reopening its stable areas in response to executive orders issued by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to contain and limit the spread of COVID-19.

“Obviously, this is a very fluid situation,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We’re following the lead of the governor and public health officials, who are giving us advice and counsel on what to expect over time, and every decision we make is made in compliance with those recommendations. We remain hopeful that our horsemen and their horses will be able to return home as soon as possible. Our team will be ready to open under the relevant guidance we are given when the time is right.” 

Many of the horses that would be stabled at Churchill Downs this spring are currently residing at Fair Grounds in New Orleans; Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.; Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.; Palm Meadows in Boynton Beach, Fla.; Payson Park in Indiantown, Fla.; Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Fla.; and Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. 

Churchill Downs’ Spring Meet was originally scheduled for April 25-June 27. On March 17, it was announced that the 2020 Kentucky Derby was rescheduled from Saturday, May 2, to Saturday, Sept. 5.

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