An Empty Kentucky Derby Will Make For an Unforgettable Race
Saturday, in the fashion that only 2020 could bring, the 146th Kentucky Derby will be run. Instead of the first Saturday in May, fans will be watching their favorite jockeys on the first Saturday of September. This year; however, there will be no hats, no mint juleps, and no fans.
As a sports enthusiast, the Kentucky Derby is a bucket list item. Dressing up in pastels, placing a bet on a horse, and drinking bourbon build an atmosphere that exemplifies the tradition of the Derby that has been building upon itself since 1875.
In my opinion, the fans make the Derby. Personally, I have attended the event the past two years, and as someone who doesn’t usually indulge in horse racing, the culture surrounding the event makes the whole experience.
In June, Churchill Downs, the host of the Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, announced that they were attempting to allow a small percentage of fans, but after the city saw a spike in COVID-19 cases, Churchill Downs declared that nobody would be allowed to attend.
While it will definitely be a change this year, sports fans are presented with a unique opportunity. “My Old Kentucky Home” ringing through an empty Churchill Downs will seem odd, but we can create the magic of the Derby in our own homes.
So instead of lamenting about how this year of sports is different, rejoice, because this is a race that will go down in history. Much like the events of the past- the rainy races, the upsets, or even the “Triple Crown” winners- a year with no fans will put emphasis on the winner and will make the race unforgettable.
That being said, have fun with this piece of American culture this year. Make a mint julep, wear some pastels, and remember that the next time this race is run, we will be back to normal.
The 146th Kentucky Derby will air on NBC on Saturday, September 5th. The event will start at 1:30 p.m. CT, and the headlining race has a post time of 6:01 p.m. CT.