On the same day Churchill Downs announced it’s considering “the timing of the 146th Kentucky Derby this year” given the coronavirus pandemic, five-time winner Bob Baffert said he’s hearing the Run for the Roses could be moved to the summer or fall.
“Nobody’s really sure when anything is going to happen,” the trainer said Saturday at Santa Anita Park, according to a release from the park. “Churchill is saying they’re not going to run the Derby without the people there, so I’m hearing maybe June or in September.”
Baffert’s comments came after his Charlatan won an allowance race by 10 ¼ lengths at Santa Anita, putting himself in contention for the Kentucky Derby.
Churchill announced Saturday it has “been working carefully and diligently with relevant health experts and authorities to ensure we make the most responsible decision” regarding this year’s Derby, which is scheduled for May 2.
“This is not a decision we take lightly, and we expect to have an update about the Kentucky Derby and additional information on our upcoming Spring Meet in the coming week,” the Churchill news release said.
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The last time the Kentucky Derby was not raced on the first Saturday in May was 1945, because of World War II. It was held on June 9 that year.
“Whenever they cancel the Masters, that’s like the Derby,” Baffert said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s kind of scary. Hopefully they can get everything under control.”
Along with Charlatan, Baffert has other Kentucky Derby hopefuls in San Felipe winner Authentic and Nadal, winner of Saturday’s Rebel at Oaklawn Park.