Spacing of Triple Crown Series Still in Progress
By Dick Downey
Updated 11:52 a.m. ET
Here are key points that emerged (or didn't emerge) during a conference call held by Churchill Downs officials this morning.
-- The Kentucky Oaks is set for Sept. 4, with the Kentucky Derby set for September 5.
-- Oaks and Derby tickets purchased for the originally scheduled dates are automatically valid for the new race dates. Information on a new ticket shipment date will be sent directly to ticket purchasers.
-- If you have purchased a ticket and are not able to attend the newly scheduled race dates and information regarding refund requests will be available at http://KentuckyDerby.com/updates by the end of this week.
-- The remainder of Derby Week races have not been decided. Churchill Downs asks tht you visit http://KentuckyDerby.com/updates for information regarding Opening Night, Champions Day, Wednesday and Thurby.
-- The points system that determines which horses will qualify for the Derby will remain in place. New Derby points races will be selected. Existing points will count.
-- Nothing has been worked out regarding how the Triple Crown Series will proceed. Relevant parties, including NBC, are in discussion on how to go forward with the Triple Crown series. Churchill Downs hopes the same spacing between the Triple Crown races can be maintained.
-- We note that Kentucky Downs is set to run on Sept 2, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, and Ellis Park closes its meet Labor Day weekend. Churchill would run several days on and around these conflicting dates. Churchill Downs expresses confidence the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will approve their plan. The matter must be presented for approval by KHRC. Churchill has announced new dates for the Oaks and Derby without first obtaining KHRC approval.
The New York Racing Association put out its own statement shortly after Churchill's conference call ended.
"NYRA is working closely with all appropriate parties, including media rights holder NBC Sports, to make a determination about the timing of the 2020 Belmont Stakes. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend American life, decisions about large-scale public events must prioritize public health and safety above all else. NYRA will deliver an announcement only when that process has concluded to the satisfaction of state and local health departments. The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution with wide-reaching economic impact. We look forward to its 152nd edition in 2020."
About two hours after the teleconference, Maryland Jockey Club issued a release of its own.
“Our first priority in these difficult times is the health and welfare of our industry participants and the public at large. We are working with state and local governments, our industry participants, media and other affiliates to determine the most appropriate time to conduct the Preakness Stakes. While we are mindful of the challenges these times present we also know that events like the Preakness Stakes can help restore our sense of place and economic well-being to our communities and state. As soon as we have further clarity on these matters we will inform all.”