Churchill Downs President: 'We're Going to Run the Kentucky Derby in 2020'

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIMay 2, 2020

Luis Saez rides Maximum Security, right, during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. Country House was declared the winner after Maximum Security was disqualified following a review by race stewards. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

On a Saturday afternoon that should have played host to the Kentucky Derby, the president of Churchill Downs promised the postponed race will take place in 2020.

"We're going to run the Kentucky Derby in 2020," Kevin Flanery told Tim Sullivan of the Louisville Courier Journal. "Matt Winn famously said, 'I don't care if there are two horses on the track and two fans in the stands, the Kentucky Derby will be run.' That's true today as well."

The race is typically run on the first Saturday in May but was delayed until the first Saturday in September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of crowning a new winner May 2, the Derby took a trip down memory lane with a virtual race between the 13 horses ever to win the Triple Crown.

It came as little surprise that the favorite, Secretariat, won the simulation with Citation and Seattle Slew finishing right behind.

While the event was part of an effort to raise $2 million for COVID-19 relief, the famed track is insisting a real, live Kentucky Derby will happen in 2020. Currently, that's planned for September 5, yet the date may be subject to change depending on the circumstances at the time.

"We will adapt and adjust as we learn new facts and do it the right way when the right time comes," Flanery said. "There are a lot of different scenarios. But the Derby is not just two minutes. It's a feeling in this community. We want people to be able to celebrate it. We've got plenty of time to adjust. But the Kentucky Derby will happen in 2020."

In the meantime, the Road to the Kentucky Derby has continued to pick up steam.

Saturday saw Charlatan coast to an easy win at the Arkansas Derby to pick up 100 points toward qualifying for the Run for the Roses, putting him in third place in the standings behind Tiz the Law and Wells Bayou.

That's helped drum up excitement for the 146th Kentucky Derby. And whether it happens in September or later on down the line, track officials are certain it will take place in 2020.