Having already canceled its 2-year-olds in training sale and subsequently announcing that racing would be conducted with no fans in attendance, officials at Keeneland have canceled the Spring race meeting set for Apr. 2 through Apr. 24 due to safety and health concerns surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak.
The decision was accelerated by guidance from the Center for Disease Control Mar. 15, which cautioned against holding large events including “conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings and other types of assemblies.” The recommendation was that events attended by 50 or more people should be canceled or postponed for at least eight weeks.
“Keeneland's Spring Meet is a rite and tradition that touches every aspect of Central Kentucky and beyond, and the decision to cancel racing is agonizing for our staff, our many loyal fans and our horsemen,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “During the past several weeks, we have exhausted all avenues for safely conducting our Spring Meet. Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have diligently worked with local, state and national partners in health and government to ensure our actions are the most responsible we can take. We all find ourselves in uncharted territory, but nothing is more important to Keeneland than protecting the health and safety of our athletes, stable employees, horsemen, patrons, track employees and the community at large.
He added, “During this time, we all need to take care of each other. In light of the cancellation of our Spring Meet, Keeneland will focus its attention and energy on identifying ways in which we can offer support and aid to the Central Kentucky community and horse industry. We look forward to a time when all of our communities can come together once again to celebrate racing at Keeneland.”
Ticket holders for the Spring Meet will automatically be issued refunds.
Keeneland has simultaneously announced that it will continue to provide stabling for horses already on the grounds. However, effective immediately, no further horses will be permitted to ship in. Keeneland asks horsemen to remain in their current environs.
Morning training will continue to take place between 6 and 10 a.m.