The Kentucky Derby, America’s longest running annual sporting event, is being rescheduled from May to September this year, due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The event will be rescheduled from May 2, to September 5, 2020 and the Kentucky Oaks will be rescheduled from May 1, to September 4.
“Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “As the situation evolved, we reached the difficult conclusion that we needed to reschedule. At no point did we ever consider canceling the Kentucky Derby.”
This year marks the 146th year for the iconic event, which has taken place since 1875.
The two-week celebration of the Kentucky Derby Festival will also alter its schedule around this new timeframe. Each year since 1956, the Kentucky Derby Festival produces more than 70 events in the weeks leading up to the first Saturday in May. Now the Festival will move those events to later in the year, in conjunction with the new date for the Kentucky Derby.
“The schedule may look a little different with events moving into a new timeframe, but our goal is to have Thunder Over Louisville, the miniMarathon, the Pegasus Parade, Fest-a-Ville and the Chow Wagon, and many other events in between,” said Matt Gibson, President & CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival.
“Public health and safety needs to be our focus right now. We want to help in that effort and we also want the community to know we will be here once we get through this.”
The new date for Thunder Over Louisville is set for Saturday, August 15. The Festival will release other new dates as soon as they are finalized. Information regarding ticketed events, participant registration and refunds will also be forthcoming.