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Kentucky Derby to run without fans

Will this mean anything for crowd capacity at Kroger Field this fall?

Kentucky Derby Postponed Due To Coronavirus Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There will be no fans in attendance for the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby.

The Derby, which was postponed from the first Saturday of May to the September 5 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, originally planned for limited attendance, but Friday Churchill Downs announced to run without fans instead.

“The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together,” Churchill Downs’ PR staff said in a press release. “However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern,” the statement read. “Churchill Downs has worked diligently over the last several months to plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance. We were confident in that plan, but dedicated to remaining flexible using the best and most reliable information available. With the current significant increases in COVID-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning.

“We have made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans. Churchill Downs and all of our team members feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility as citizens of Louisville to do all we responsibly can to protect the health, safety and security of our community in these challenging times and believe that running the Derby without spectators is the best way to do that. We deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans.”

This decision comes due to the continued rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the Bluegrass, with Louisville being hit harder than anywhere in the state.

It is unclear if this will affect the University of Kentucky or University of Louisville fans to hold a limited number of fans at their football games this fall.