A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Keeneland announces Spring Meet will open on April 2 without spectators; cancels April 7 sales event

After detailed consultations with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and the Kentucky Department for Public Health and with Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Keeneland is taking the following steps out of an abundance of caution to do its part in containing the spread of COVID-19 while upholding its commitments to the local community, the Thoroughbred industry and staff:

Keeneland’s Spring Meet will open on April 2 without spectators. However, a limited number of credentials will be provided to those directly connected to horses running at Keeneland. Keeneland will work with government officials and relevant health authorities to consider re-opening to spectators on April 15.

This decision has been made out of an abundance of caution to protect the fans, staff and horsemen that make up the Keeneland community. Our goal is to showcase the best of Thoroughbred racing in a safe and transparent environment for everyone involved.

Patrons who purchased tickets for racing dates between April 2-11 will automatically receive a full refund on those purchases. Patrons who have already purchased tickets for racing dates between April 15-24 have the option to request a full refund at any time.

With this same caution, Keeneland has canceled the 2020 April Two-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale scheduled for April 7. Based on the ongoing discussions with government authorities, we concluded that this decision aligns best with our commitment and responsibility to put the safety and health of our community above all else.

“While our horsemen and fans are certainly disappointed about us having to take these measures, it is critical to protect the health and safety of our patrons, employees and participants from the spread of COVID-19,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We take our responsibility to the community and the horse industry seriously and we will continue to work in partnership with government authorities.”

Additionally, the leadership team is actively working to ensure all Keeneland employees have access to support measures as the situation continues to evolve. Nothing is off the table for consideration, and officials will be in constant internal communication to protect the Keeneland family from the negative economic consequences that come with public health crises.

The increased health and safety precautions that Keeneland has implemented to date, including increased access to hand-sanitizing stations, more frequent cleaning and disinfecting activities and expanded access to contactless payment and wagering platforms, remain in place this Spring and beyond, and will continue to expand as advised by government authorities. Keeneland urges patrons to practice common sense public health practices by avoiding direct contact and staying home if sick.

Now is the time to come together and to protect those who are at high risk of infection. That means complying with guidance released by the experts at the CDC and local health departments. To this end, Keeneland urges those who might have been exposed to the virus because of international or domestic travel to various hotspots to join in looking out for the community by practicing social distancing and following government guidelines surrounding self-quarantine as required.

For additional details and Frequently Asked Questions on this subject, please visit keeneland.com/COVID19. Keeneland will continue to update this as information becomes available.

From Keeneland

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