Churchill Downs to open for racing without spectators

Photo by Churchill Downs

Photo by Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs to open for racing on May 16th without spectators.  Along with no spectators, the entrance to the backside of Churchill Downs looks very different to those of us who are used to seeing nothing change over the years.  Over the winter, 4th Street was closed between Oakdale and Winn alongside Churchill Downs.

The quaint guard gate at Gate 5 still remains but to get to that point, one must first drive down Oakdale and enter a new checkpoint in what was the parking lot next to Harthills.  After stopping at the new guard post, you will cross over what was 4th Street and see the original guard gate at Churchill Downs and hear off to the backside.

Churchill Downs’ stable areas had been closed since Dec. 31 for annual winter renovations and was originally scheduled to reopen March 17.

After the opening weekend, spectator-free racing at the Louisville racetrack will be held Thursdays through Sundays with a special card for the Memorial Day holiday on May 25.

Only authorized racetrack employees and Kentucky Horse Racing Commission license holders who are providing support for a horse stabled at the facility will be permitted on property.

The racetrack was supposed to stage the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of U.S. thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown, on Saturday but the event was moved to Sept. 5 because of the novel coronavirus.

Churchill Downs Chief Executive Officer Bill Carstanjen, speaking on a teleconference with investors and analysts said while it may not look the same as a traditional Kentucky Derby, they will do everything in their power to make fan attendance possible.