Churchill Downs Racetrack officials have released a detailed 62-page health and safety operations plan that will limit attendance to the 146th running of the GI Kentucky Derby Saturday, Sept. 5 to less than 14% of total capacity from the 2015 attendance record.
The Kentucky Derby, first staged in 1875, is the longest continually-held major sporting event in the United States and was originally scheduled for May 5. A record crowd of 170,513 attended the event in 2015. Due to physical distancing protocols and other safety measures in place to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19, fewer than 23,000 guests are expected Sept. 5 for the rescheduled Kentucky Derby 146.
Two days after the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) announced that it was withholding payment of the winner's share of the purse for the $20-million Saudi Cup won by Maximum Security (New Year's Day), the colt's owners issued a statement which called the Saudi's actions something that was unprecedented in the annals of racing.
Just nine days after Maximum Security won the Saudi Cup, his trainer Jason Servis was indicted on federal charges involving horse doping. The Servis indictment led the JCSA to launch an investigation into the race and withhold paying out the purse. On Monday, it was announced that the owners of the horses who finished second through 10th would be paid, but the winner's share would be held up while the Saudis= investigation continues.
It is not clear what the Saudi investigators are hoping to find, but they have not made public any evidence that Maximum Security was doped in the Saudi Cup. The owners seized on that point, arguing that without a positive drug test there is no basis to deny them their winnings, in this case $10 million.