Live racing will return to Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 16, five days after the backstretch opens, track officials announced Thursday.
Following opening weekend, the regular racing schedule will be Thursdays through Sundays, plus a Memorial Day program on Monday, May 25. First post time daily is 1 p.m. (ET).
The Spring Meet, originally set to begin April 25, was delayed by measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Kentucky Derby (G1) postponed to Sept. 5. Gov. Andy Beshear is now giving the green light for racing to resume, under strict protocols and without spectators.
Horses will be arriving at Churchill, and its affiliated Trackside Training Center, on designated days (between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.) depending upon their departure point. Shippers from Fair Grounds will be admitted May 11-13. Those traveling from Florida – whether Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, or training centers in the Sunshine State – come next May 14-16. Oaklawn Park horses can pull in May 17-19, and all other locales can arrive May 20.
Vice President of Racing Ben Huffman is working on a condition book as well as a revised stakes schedule for the meet. The Churchill press release indicates that trainers can expect the condition book online this weekend.