Coronavirus: Kentucky governor allows Churchill Downs, home of Kentucky Derby, to reopen in May

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports

Another major location in the sports world appears on the verge of re-opening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that Churchill Downs, home to the Kentucky Derby, will be allowed to open to horses and their trainers starting on May 11, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

It’s reportedly uncertain if races will be allowed to start on May 14, the first open race day on the track’s calendar. A decision on the first race day will be announced “in the coming days,” according to Churchill Downs.

Horce racing fans will reportedly not be allowed into the facility once racing begins.

Churchill Downs isn’t the first place in the sports world to reopen. WWE has been staging shows in Florida for weeks, and the UFC has announced plans for events next month.

Kentucky Gov.: Plan to reopen Churchill Downs was exemplary

Beshear had high praise for the plan presented by Churchill Downs officials. From the Courier-Journal:

"This is one of the most detailed plans we have seen about specific security checks that everybody has to go through and be temperature checked, to masking, to having a very limited group that is there," Beshear said.

Churchill Downs officials had similar praise for Beshear and his handling of the matter:

“We truly appreciate the leadership of Governor Beshear and all of the hard work and guidance that state and local officials and public health experts have provided us to safely reopen,” Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said. “The health and safety of our horsemen, staff and community remains paramount. Strict compliance with our comprehensive COVID-19 action plan and social distancing guidelines is our responsible duty to effectively contain the virus.”

Churchill Downs has been closed since its final race on March 21.

The Kentucky Derby has already been postponed to September 5, and it hasn’t been determined if fans will be allowed in yet. The Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes have also been postponed indefinitely.

Churchill Downs is set to reopen next month, but it will be a while before things are normal in Kentucky again. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
Churchill Downs is set to reopen next month, but it will be a while before things are normal in Kentucky again. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

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