Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, has announced it will resume racing behind closed doors on May 16.
The Louisville track would usually have staged the Derby meeting this weekend, but the feature fixture has already been moved back to September due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, officials have now determined the venue will be able to race this month, albeit without spectators and under strict hygiene measures.
A statement from the track said: “After opening weekend on May 16-17, racing at the historic Louisville racetrack will be staged Thursdays through Sundays with a special holiday Monday card on Memorial Day, May 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.”
A phased approach will be employed in the reopening of stable areas, with horses based at different tracks across the country allowed to return to the course at intervals, starting with runners from Fair Grounds in New Orleans on May 11.
The track’s statement added: “Racing at Churchill Downs during the Spring Meet will be conducted spectator-free until government officials approve fans returning to the historic track.
“Only authorised racetrack employees and KHRC licence holders who are providing support for a horse stabled at the facility will be permitted on property.”
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