Dubbed the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports,” the Derby will now be held on September 5 instead of May 2.
“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,” Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a statement.
“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.”
The first “Run for the Roses” was staged in 1875 and is held on the first Saturday of May.
Only once before in its history has the Derby been postponed, when restrictions during World War II forced it to be pushed back a month, according to the Courier-Journal.
The Triple Crown’s broadcaster, NBC, is in talks with the other races – the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York – to move their races to September and October.
Additional reporting by Andy Rose.