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Rival demonstrators in front of the Louisville Metro Hall in Kentucky ahead of the Kentucky Derby. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Authentic won the 146th annual Kentucky Derby on Saturday as Black Lives Matter protesters and armed supporters of police faced off, while the usual horse racing crowds were cast aside to promote social distancing.

The big picture: Like most sporting events this spring, the first leg of the American Triple Crown was postponed from its traditional first Saturday in May to the new September date because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Demonstrators gathered in front of the venue, chanting, "No justice, no Derby," Friday and Saturday, as groups called for justice over the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.
  • Activists chanting "Say her name: Breonna Taylor" were met by an armed group, which responded by shouting: "All lives matter," "U-S-A" and "Back the blue," referring to law enforcement, USA Today reports.
  • The tense scenes came to an end when "police in riot gear arrived" and the crowds broke up, per the Washington Post.

Of note: Churchill Downs issued a statement about racial injustice on Thursday, saying: "We are not doing enough, quickly enough. That is true in our country, in our city and in our sport." The organization promised that the "atmosphere of the Kentucky Derby will be different this year as we respond to those calls for change."

In photos:
Jockey John Velazquez aboard Authentic #18, celebrates after winning the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Connections of Authentic including Spendthrift Farm president Eric Gustavson, Velazquez, and Bob Baffert with the trophy after winning the Kentucky Derby. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Demonstrators walk through smoke in front of the Louisville Metro Hall ahead of the Kentucky Derby. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
A general view of the paddock at Churchill Downs. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Empty seats at Churchill Downs. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with information of Authentic's win and further details on the protests.

Go deeper

Dec 13, 2020 - Health

In photos: U.S. health care workers on the pandemic front lines

Health care worker Demetra Ransom comforts a patient in the COVID-19 ward at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, on Dec. 4. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP /AFP via Getty Images

The first truckloads of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine were set to leave a Michigan manufacturing plant Sunday for distribution across the U.S., offering hope that a mass rollout will alleviate the strain on hospitals and medical staff.

The big picture: Coronavirus hospitalizations are soaring, and surging U.S. case numbers surpassed 16 million Saturday. Some 3 million vaccine doses are being distributed this week. Health care workers are being prioritized for inoculations. NIAID director Anthony Fauci stressed to Axios there's still a fair way to go, with 75%–80% of Americans needing to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

47 mins ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.