Kentucky Derby now set for September due to coronavirus

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Flavien Prat rides Country House, left, to the finish line during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Louisville, Ky.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum-AP

The Kentucky Derby was postponed from May to September on Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Churchill Downs officials said the race will move from May 2 to Sept. 5, marking the first time in 75 years it won't be run on the first Saturday in May.

The last time the Derby wasn't held on the first Saturday in May was in 1945, when the federal government issued a ban on horse racing because of World War II.

The ban was lifted on May 8, and the Derby was held on June 9.

The only other year the Derby wasn't held in May was in 1901, when it was raced on April 29.

The date change still must be approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission at its meeting Thursday.

The Derby is the latest major sporting event to be postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, joining the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments and the Masters golf tournament.

Professional basketball, baseball and hockey leagues also have suspended their seasons.

The Courier-Journal of Louisville first reported the date change.