Aug 21, 2020 - Sports

Kentucky Derby to run without fans as coronavirus cases surge

Two jockeys race

The 'Road To The Kentucky Derby' Conditions Stakes at Kempton Park Racecourse on March 4 in Sunbury, England. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The Kentucky Derby will be held September 5 without spectators, Churchill Downs announced Friday.

Why it matters: The state set a record last Wednesday for coronavirus infections confirmed in a single day, per the COVID Tracking Project. Hospitalizations in the state are currently on the decline, but have steadily risen throughout August.

What they're saying: “The virus is still aggressively spreading in Kentucky, and the White House has announced that Jefferson County and the City of Louisville are in a ‘red zone’ based on increases in cases," Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said in a statement, in support of the move to hold the derby without spectators. "This week alone the county had more than 2,300 new cases,”

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