Churchill Downs to Open May 16 for Spectatorless Racing

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The backside is reopening and accepting new horses at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and live racing will resume May 16. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Churchill Downs officials announced late April 30 that opening day of the Louisville track's 2020 spring meet will be May 16.

On April 29, Churchill Downs received approval from state officials to reopen its stable areas at both Churchill Downs racetrack and the auxiliary trackside training center May 11 under strict guidelines to effectively mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

After the opening weekend May 16-17, racing will be staged Thursdays through Sundays with a special holiday Monday card on Memorial Day, May 25. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the track originally had been scheduled to open April 25.

Vice President of Racing Ben Huffman is crafting a condition book for the schedule of races, including a revised stakes schedule, and it is expected to be released online this weekend so horsemen can begin preparing their horses for those engagements.

The stable areas will reopen under a phased, systematic approach.

Racing at Churchill Downs during the spring meet will be conducted spectator-free until government officials approve fans to return to the historic track.

Only authorized racetrack employees and KHRC license holders who are providing support for a horse stabled at the facility will be permitted on the property. This specifically includes only trainers with horses stabled or racing on the facility grounds and those who are responsible for the care of the horses (veterinarians, grooms, exercise riders, and farriers).

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