Kentucky Derby scratches general admission

Horse Racing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs officials expect fewer than 23,000 fans will be able to attend next month’s rescheduled Kentucky Derby under an updated health and safety plan.

The plan eliminates general admission and standing room only areas, with total capacity limited to less than 14% of the 2015 attendance record of 170,513. The 146th runnings of the Derby and Oaks for fillies were postponed from May 1-2 to Sept. 4-5 because of coronavirus concerns.

Spectators were not allowed for Churchill Downs’ spring meet, but the track had stated in June that general admission would be limited to the 26-acre infield for the Derby.

Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery said the plan meets or exceeds recommended state and local guidelines.

“We’ll make adjustments all the way up to Derby Day as we find ways to improve and continue to adhere to ever-evolving best practices,” Flanery said.

A 62-page plan released Wednesday cited “current circumstances” in eliminating general admission and closing the infield. Refunds will be issued for pre-purchased tickets. Reserved seating will be limited to 40% occupancy, with outdoor ticket holders reseated in a comparable location for maximum distancing.

Protocols include temperature checks, face coverings and physical distancing. The release adds that safety measures will be strictly enforced and that repeat offenders will be escorted from the property. Spectators will receive a bag with a disposable mask, hand sanitizer and a stylus for noncontact, self-service betting.

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