By Neil Monnery

Kentucky Derby Postponed, new date set for September 5

By Neil Monnery

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The 2020 Kentucky Derby is now set to take place on Saturday 5 September
The 2020 Kentucky Derby is now set to take place on Saturday 5 September

In news that won't have come as any surprise considering the mounting self-isolation being called for in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the globe, Churchill Downs confirmed this morning that the 146th Kentucky Derby will not be held on the first Saturday of May. Instead it will take place on the first Saturday of September. The Kentucky Oaks will take place the previous day on Friday 4th. Both dates are pending final approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Postponing the event seemed pretty much inevitable in the wake of what is going on in the World. With sporting events being cancelled and season's being suspended, it was always likely that the Derby would also feel the wrath of the Coronavirus outbreak. The biggest question facing those in charge at Churchill Downs was if and when to reschedule.

One of the biggest issues they had to face was when the race could air on NBC. With Notre Dame football already having a deal with the Derby broadcaster to broadcast all their home matches along with select other games, this meant any autumn date would have to coincide with a non NBC televised game game for the Fighting Irish and they are scheduled to play on the network a lot over the early parts of the season. This left only August 29 along with September 5 and 26 as realistic possibilities. Having the Derby too close to the Breeders' Cup was impracticable.

The fact that a lot of the local hotels around Churchill Downs suddenly sold out for the weekend of September 5 by Monday lunchtime, it became pretty clear where this was going.

Both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes are in talks with NBC to rearrange the events so that they take place following the rearranged Derby. Extra Prep Races will be added in the summer and points already accumulated will still count.

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