LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The last time the Kentucky Derby wasn't held on the first Saturday in May was in 1945 when horse racing was banned because of World War II. In 2020, the greatest two minutes in sports is being rescheduled to Saturday, September 5 due to coronavirus. The Kentucky Oaks will be run Friday, September 4.

Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a statement, "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. 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 other races scheduled to take place Derby Week have not been decided. 

Tickets to the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby races are automatically valid for the new race dates. 

Churchill Downs will keep fans updated about changes to Derby Week, Spring Meet, and ticketing on its website.

Another big announcement Tuesday morning came from the Kentucky Derby Festival. The Festival, which serves as the official kickoff to the Kentucky Derby, is postponing all of the scheduled 2020 events. 

The new date for Thunder Over Louisville, the day-long airshow and fireworks spectacular, is now Saturday, August 15.  




Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO, Matt Gibson said, The schedule may look a little different with events moving into a new timeframe, but our goal is to have Thunder Over Louisville, the miniMarathon, the Pegasus Parade, Fest-a-Ville, and the Chow Wagon, and many other events in between. There are a lot of moving parts with all the events. We just ask that everyone be patient as we work to get things rescheduled,” said Gibson. “We will work to ensure this transition to new dates is as seamless as possible.”

Fans who have already purchased a 2020 Pegasus pin, which allows access to all the Festival events, must hold on to the pins because they will still be used when the Festival is held later this year. 

KDF produces more than 70 events in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby. This is the first time in the 65 years of the Festival that the entire Festival is postponed.