The coronavirus outbreak now has affected horse racing’s grandest stage.
Multiple news outlets reported Monday night that the Kentucky Derby — a jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown and a staple of the month of May — has been postponed. Race officials are eyeing a Sept. 5 rescheduling.
Churchill Downs has scheduled a Tuesday morning press conference to officially announce its decision.
This year’s Kentucky Derby was scheduled to run May 2. The last time the Derby was moved was in 1945 when it ran in June due to World War II. It had run the first Saturday in May ever since.
Government officials have cautioned Americans to avoid ever-shrinking groups of people. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Sunday to avoid crowds of 50 or larger. On Monday, the White House advised people to avoid groups of 10 or more.
The Kentucky Derby now joins a rapidly growing list of sporting events postponed or canceled. The NCAA has canceled the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in all divisions, as well as all spring championships. The NBA and NHL have both suspended their seasons, while Major League Baseball has pushed back its opening day to mid-May at the earliest.
The coronavirus even affected WWE’s Wrestlemania. Originally scheduled for April 5 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, the event will keep the same date, but will be broadcast from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, with out fans in attendance.