Traditionally, the race has been held on the first Saturday of May, but the coronavirus pandemic forced race organizers to postpone the contest.
The Belmont Stakes, usually the final race of the Triple Crown, was held before the Kentucky Derby this year, on June 20, with Tiz the Law crowned the winner.
The Kentucky Derby, one of the longest-running sporting events in the US, will be a very different experience this year, as organizers will not allow spectators at Churchill Downs.
Event organizers originally planned to allow spectators at 14% capacity, which amounts to about 23,000 fans. However, the organizers changed course and say they “deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans.”
“The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together,” the organizers said in a press release. “However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern. With the current significant increases in Covid-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning.”
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear backed the decision.
“The virus is still aggressively spreading in Kentucky, and the White House has announced that Jefferson County and the City of Louisville are in a ‘red zone’ based on increases in cases,” Beshear said. “I applaud Churchill Downs for continuing to monitor the virus and for making the right and responsible decision.”
How to watch
NBC will begin airing coverage on Saturday, September 5, at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, the NBC Sports app and on its website.
While pre-race coverage begins in the early afternoon, post time for the main event is set for 7:01 p.m. ET.
Storylines to watch
Triple Crown watch
Tiz the Law is the favorite in the field of 18 horses. The New York-bred horse dominated the Belmont Stakes, and a win at the Kentucky Derby would bring him and trainer Barclay Taggs one step closer to winning the Triple Crown.
There have only been 13 Triple Crown winners in horse racing history, with Justify being the last horse to accomplish the feat in 2018.
Art Collector, King Guillermo and Finnick the Fierce are out
Art Collector was one of the favorites heading into the race, but an injury will not allow him to participate at the Run for the Roses.
“He grabbed himself yesterday morning training,” trainer Tommy Drury said. “It was still very sensitive this morning. When I took my thumbs to palpate the bulbs of his heels, you could still tell it was pinching him. I had to make a choice. Your horse has to always come first. To run in a race of this caliber and trying to compete against the best 3-year-olds in this country, you’ve got to be 110 percent.”
Finnick the Fierce was declared out of the Kentucky Derby on Friday. The horse had inside position at post 1, but was not considered among the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby.
Authentic could challenge Tiz The Law
Authentic will be coming out of the gate racing right next to Tiz the Law at post 18. Despite the unfavorable position, Authentic is an 8-1 favorite to win the Derby.
The horse recently won the Haskell Stakes and has Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in his corner. Baffert trained American Pharoah and Justify, the last two thoroughbreds to win the Triple Crown.
“My Old Kentucky Home”
However, it is a slave song that was inspired by the novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Considering the social unrest taking place in Louisville and across the country, there have been calls to break tradition and stop singing the song.
A rendition of the song will be played solo by bugler Steve Buttleman instead of the University of Louisville’s marching band, a spokesman confirmed to CNN.
Tiz the Law (1-1)
Honor A.P. (8-1)
Thousand Words (9-1)
Money Moves (14-1)
Max Player (15-1)
Ny Traffic (16-1)
Storm the Court (22-1)
Sole Volante (23-1)
South Bend (33-1)
Major Fed (27-1)
Necker Island (40-1)
Attachment Rate (42-1)
Mr. Big News (43-1)
Winning Impression (44-1)
CNN’s Dan Kamal, Ralph Ellis and David Close contributed to this report.