Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear announced Wednesday an impending loosening of some state-wide restrictions, including the resumption of horse racing in the state.
Following continued talks with Churchill Downs, the governor said during his daily briefing that horsemen will be welcomed back to the track on May 11. There is currently no set open date for the Spring Meet. "We were able to come to an agreement yesterday, specifically with the group that is going to start: Churchill Downs," Beshear said. "They are going to start accepting horses and accepting folks on the backside of their track on May 11." The move-in dates from different locales pertains to both the Churchill Downs backside barn area and the Trackside auxiliary training center. "I will tell you, this is one of the most detailed plans that we have seen about specific security checks everybody has to go through and be temperature checked, to masking, to having a very limited group that is there," said Beshear, with plans allowing only authorized racetrack employees and Kentucky Horse Racing Commission license holders who are providing support for a horse stabled at the facility on the property. According to Churchill Downs, it will be up to government officials to approve fans returning to the track. Wednesday's decision by Beshear will allow horsemen from tracks such as New Orleans' Fair Grounds, where the meet ended in March, and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., where Saturday is closing day, to return to the state. In a release from Churchill Downs, the dates for ship-ins from various locations were announced. The schedule for access to the Churchill Downs backside includes those coming from: • Fair Grounds (May 11-13) • Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs and horses based at Florida training centers (May 14-16) • Oaklawn Park (May 17-19) • All other locales (May 20) When racing returns to Churchill Downs it will be staged at a minimum of four days per week, Thursday through Sunday. More information will be released later as far as a condition book and stakes schedule.