The 2020 Kentucky Derby will take place in front of fans after all, even though it will be a very limited number. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave Churchill Downs approval to allow some fans inside of the race track on Derby Day.
The Kentucky Derby is traditionally the first leg of the Triple Crown, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the event to be pushed back this year. The race was scheduled to take place on May 2, but it will now be held on Sept. 5.
Crowds usually total more than 150,000 people for the Kentucky Derby, but the ongoing pandemic will limit the number of patrons allowed at Churchill Downs this year. Churchill Downs did not announce a specific number of fans that would be allowed, but it was originally believed that no fans would be allowed to attend.
Kevin Flanery, Churchill Downs track president, announced that his staff is already working on new health and safety protocols to keep guests safe. Churchill Downs has outlined several steps that will keep crowds at a low number and will keep social distancing in play.
There will be a limited amount of general admission tickets for sale, but those ticket holders will only have access to the infield. Customers that have already purchased reserve and premium tickets will be notified via email of their options for attending the 2020 Kentucky Derby.
Races have been taking place at Churchill Downs over the last few weeks, and the spring card just finished up. Derby Week is set to begin on Sept. 1, with the big race taking place on Sept. 5.
Derby City Gaming Set to Expand
Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) also recently announced that they are going to be expanding Derby City Gaming. The historical horse racing facility is located in Louisville and offers instant racing games.
A second outdoor smoking patio will be built at Derby City Gaming, and the total expansion project will cost more than $13 million. The building of this new patio will allow for 195 more games to be added at Derby City Gaming, and it’s set to open later this year.
The Louisville market is very competitive in terms of gaming, and Derby City Gaming is looking for a way to take over the market. Caesars Southern Indiana has taken the lead in the Louisville market, but the building of a new patio should close the gap.
Both of the facilities have been closed since mid-March, but are expected to reopen soon. Caesars has a winning average of close to $350 per day, which is higher than the total of Derby City Gaming.
Derby City was averaging close to $300 in daily wins, but the number has continued to rise over the last 12 months.
Financial Losses Will Be Felt
Churchill Downs Inc. recently gave a presentation during an investment conference, noting that the Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest drivers of profit that the company features. Most of the money is made from ticket sales, and the company knows that there will be a big financial loss felt this year.
There are more than 60,000 premium seats available at Churchill Downs, and almost 20,000 of those seats come with a no-cancellation policy. Churchill Downs Inc. will still be making some money on the seats that can’t be canceled, but they also hope that fans can use the seats.
Churchill Downs Inc will not be able to calculate the financial loss until race Derby Week is over, and the number of fans allowed at the race track will play a huge role.