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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.

  • 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

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

Go deeper

Nov 29, 2020 - World

Clashes in Paris as tens of thousands protest France security bill

Demonstrators in Paris protest on Saturday France's "global security" draft law. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images

A massive protest in Paris against a security bill descended into clashes between police and demonstrators Saturday, as tens of thousands of people rallied across France against the measure, per AFP.

Why it matters: The bill, if signed into law, would bolster government surveillance and restrict the sharing of images of police officers, which critics say would erode civil liberties including the freedom to report on police brutality.

McConnell circulates revised GOP coronavirus stimulus plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks with reporters in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell circulated a new framework for coronavirus stimulus legislation to Republican members on Tuesday that would establish a fresh round of funding for the small business Paycheck Protection Program and implement widespread liability protections, according to a copy of the plan obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The revised GOP relief draft comes after McConnell's meeting with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, during which they went over in detail what provisions would get backing from President Trump.

Barr appoints special counsel to continue investigating origins of Russia probe

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr told the AP on Tuesday he appointed veteran prosecutor John Durham as a special counsel on Oct. 19 to continue investigating the origins of the FBI's 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Why it matters: It's an extra layer of protection for Durham to continue investigating possible misconduct by Obama-era intelligence officials past Joe Biden's inauguration as president.