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Kentucky Derby to Allow Under 23,000 Fans - Churchill Downs

Attendance at this year's Kentucky Derby will be limited to guests with reserved seats and a maximum of 40% occupancy.
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Churchill Downs  (CHDN) - Get Churchill Downs Incorporated Report said Wednesday that the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby will be limited to less than 23,000 fans, who will be required to wear face coverings.

Shares of the Louisville, Ky., company at last check were up 1.9% to $173.26.

As the storied horse race looks to carry on during the coronavirus pandemic, attendance at the Sept. 5 event will be limited to guests with reserved seats and a maximum of 40% occupancy, Churchill Downs said.

All general-admission-ticket options, including the infield, have been eliminated.

Temperature checks, medical questionnaires, physical distancing and face coverings will be required at the entrance to and within the 190-acre Churchill Downs facility, the company said.

In addition, concession-stand options will be limited to mostly prepackaged foods. Plated meals and meal packages from preset menus will be served in select locations.

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Kentucky Derby week activities and guest shuttles from offsite parking locations have been eliminated.

Chief Executive Bill Carstanjen said in a statement that the company has worked with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and his administration, Louisville Metro Health Department, and medical experts to develop safety protocols.

Separately, Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear on Tuesday tested negative for covid-19 after both were feeling ill, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. 

The governor canceled a ribbon-cutting ceremony early Tuesday afternoon “out of an abundance of caution."

The Kentucky Derby was postponed in March due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. The event, first staged in 1872, has been held outside the month of May only twice in its history.

The last time it was held after May was in 1945, when the race took place on June 9, following the conclusion of World War II. 

Churchill Downs said it hosted a record crowd of 170,513 for the 141st Kentucky Derby in 2015.