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Kentucky Derby now first Saturday in September

By Staff | Apr 3, 2020

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Changes. Changes. Changes.

There have been entire sports schedules canceled. Other sports are hanging on to hope that the suspended schedules they now have in place will not have to be changed again.

As of now, the much-anointed Kentucky Derby will be staged on the First Saturday in September instead of the usual First Saturday in May.

Sept. 5 instead of May 2.

The Triple Crown series will be altered. There have been no announcements made by any those leaders associated with either the Preakness Stakes or the Belmont Stakes. Will those two races follow the Kentucky Derby or be placed elsewhere on the thoroughbred calendar? Only the coronavirus seems to know.

We do know that Louisville and Churchill Downs won’t have 130,000 spectators in attendance on May 2. There will be no blimp hovering overhead as the University of Louisville band plays “My Old Kentucky Home” when the thoroughbreds come onto the track from the paddock. No garland of roses will be wrapped around the winner’s neck. No week-long round of parties attended by Hollywood types and celebrities from other walks of life.

But as of now there will be a 2020 Kentucky Derby. Mint juleps will be sold. Women’s hats the size of Delaware will be donned by celebrities and the not-so-famous alike.

Finding the appropriate prep races for all the thoroughbreds won’t be easy. Some participants will come from abroad to run. What kind of schedule will they find in Europe, Japan or even South America?

When the Kentucky Derby was contested on the First Saturday in May, it didn’t have the stern competition it will encounter in early September. Most people were still waiting to welcome spring, and the derby often caught them a little short on their preparation for such a king-sized event.

In September there will be competition from college football. The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) has Notre Dame football scheduled for Sept. 5 at 2:30 p.m.

Only speculation buzzes around the coronavirus. Will it be a tattered and cursed memory by September? Or will it still be dogging the heels of sport all over the world?

Changes. Changes. Changes.

At least the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve is still on the calendar. A bit later than usual. A bit more confusing than in the past.

But still on top of the sports menu, when finally being covered by the hovering blimp.