Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has ruled out the possibility of horse racing returning any time soon during his daily address on Friday.
No Horse Racing in Kentucky for Awhile
Speaking on Friday, April 3, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has endorsed a position suggested by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, arguing that the sport would be able to return back to normal once the COVID-19 pandemic has been slowed down, and more importantly – stopped.
Summing up this sentiment, Gov. Beshear simply said “It’s going to take as long to defeat this virus as it takes.” He further noted that accomplishing a complete control over the spreading of the novel coronavirus might take as much as several months.
The governor refused to give exact date in terms of days as he warned that relaxing social distancing or giving people reason to relax the measures would ultimately bring in a spike in the number of infected, occasioning another state of emergency.
Horse racing had to be shut down late in march, with Churchill Downs Inc. cancelling its Turfway Park winter meet. Conversely, the Northern Kentucky track had decided to continue races without live audiences, but eventually caved in to Gov. Bashear’s request for all events to be suspended.
Acting Quickly to Curb the Pandemic
Gov. Beshear has been one of the first governors to take the danger of the virus seriously and order for all dining rooms, schools and otherwise non-essential businesses to shut down in a bid to contain and slow down the spreading of the virus.
Since he issued the order, the governor has been actively asking people to uphold social distancing and avoid going out of the house. Taking a specific question about live racing, the governor offered some reassurances:
At least as long as we are seeing an escalation, you would still have groups of people that would have to coming together to make that happen.-Andy Beshear, Governor of Kentucky
Beshear reiterated his hopes that there could be a point where cases would be going down quickly enough to allow live audiences once again. Yet, as the situation stood, Beshear explained, horse racing would have to be treated the same way as the NBA, which has suspended its regular season.
There have been significant relocations of events in the horse racing world. Keeneland announced it was cancelling its April Sale. Meanwhile, Churchill Downs pushed back the Kentucky Derby to September.
Beshear is one of the few governors to also endorse all forms of gambling as a viable source for the state’s economic stability. He had previously spoke favorably of endorsing online poker, introducing sports betting, and even hinted at online casinos.