Kentucky Derby bets on allowing fans for 2020 race

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In September, the Kentucky Derby will be played for the 146th consecutive year. And, in a noteworthy development on Thursday, for the 146th consecutive year, there will be fans at Churchill Downs watching (and betting) the race. In the process, America’s most famous race track has emerged as a flashpoint in our nation’s ongoing COVID-19 culture war.

Under a Louisville blue sky, Churchill President Kevin Flanery removed a mask and said at a media meeting that the track plans to open its doors to tens of thousands of customers on September 5. The crowd will be much smaller than the usual 150,000 ish that fills the place on the first Saturday in May, but as of now they can still sell 50-75,000 tickets, notably including general admission passes in the box. If it happens, this could be the largest collection of humanity in the United States in one place since the nation closed in the face of a pandemic in March.