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Churchill Downs to allow up to 23,000 fans at rescheduled Kentucky Derby

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Churchill Downs Racetrack has announced it will allow up to 23,000 fans to attend the Kentucky Derby, which was postponed from May 2 until September 5 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

In an updated health and safety plan, general admission and standing-room only areas have been eliminated, while reserved seating will be limited to a maximum of 40 per cent occupancy.

A crowd of 23,000 would be about 13.5 per cent of the 2015 attendance record of 170,513.

Health and safety measures include temperature checks, medical questionnaires, physical distancing and face coverings.

Meanwhile, each guest will receive a courtesy “Healthy at the Track” bag, which will include a disposable mask, pocket-sized hand sanitizer and personal stylus for non-contact self-service wagering. More than 500 hand sanitizing stations will also be placed throughout the 190-acre facility.

“The opportunity to safely welcome back a limited number of guests to Churchill Downs on the first week of September is a privilege that our team doesn’t take for granted,” Churchill Downs Racetrack president Kevin Flanery said. “Our extensive plan meets or exceeds all recommended state and local guidelines.”

Numerous Kentucky Derby Week activities have also been called off including autograph signings, concerts in the Plaza, fashion contests, Taste of Derby, the Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade and the Kentucky Derby Red Carpet. Key programming elements will transition to digital platforms.

The Belmont Stakes was held June without spectators, while it remains unclear if crowds will be allowed at the rescheduled Preakness Stakes in October.