Churchill Downs Incorporated reschedules Kentucky Derby for September

17th March 2020 1:40 pm GMT
Churchill Downs

New York-listed gaming and racetrack operator Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has confirmed that the Kentucky Derby will be postponed by four months until September.

The company has decided to reschedule the Kentucky Oaks from 1 May until 4 September, with the 146th Kentucky Derby, one of the most lucrative horse races in the US racing calendar, postponed from 2 May to 5 September.

The dates remain contingent upon final approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which is expected to approve the changes on Thursday.

“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 CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen. “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.”

CDI has already temporary suspended of operations at a number of its casino and racing properties across the US as a precautionary measure to COVID-19.

This includes Miami Valley Gaming in Ohio; Rivers Casino Des Plaines and Arlington Park's network of off track betting facilities in Illinois; Derby City Gaming and Churchill Downs Racetrack simulcast operations in Kentucky; Ocean Downs Casino in Maryland; Calder Casino in Florida; Oxford Casino in Maine; Fair Grounds Slots and Fair Grounds' network of off track betting and video poker facilities in Louisiana; Riverwalk Casino Hotel and Harlow's Casino Resort & Spa in Mississippi; and Lady Luck Nemacolin and Presque Isle Casino in Pennsylvania;

CDI previously announced that Turfway Park in Kentucky and Fair Grounds Race Course in Louisiana will run all remaining races spectator-free.

“From the onset of these unprecedented circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the team at Churchill Downs Incorporated has worked diligently to make the most responsible decisions based on the guidance provided by federal health experts and recommendations from state and local authorities in each of our jurisdictions,” said Carstanjen.

“As the situation evolved rapidly, we made all necessary operational adjustments to provide the safest experience and environment for our guests and employees. The most recent developments have led us to make some very difficult, but we believe necessary, decisions.”

Shares in Churchill Downs Incorporated (NSQ:CHDN) were trading up 2.37 per cent at $77.29 per share in early trading in New York Tuesday, having hit a new 52-week low of $75.01 during trading Monday.

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