LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Keeneland announced Monday that fans will not be permitted to attend its 2020 fall meet scheduled for Oct. 2-24.
Only a limited number of participants and essential personnel will be permitted to attend the live race meet.
Keeneland conducted its five-day summer meet in July without spectators, but did allow a limited number of owners and essential personnel to attend.
Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said the decision was made after consulting with state government and public health officials, and monitoring how various sports venues and events have operated during the pandemic.
“The safety of our employees, our participants and our fans remains Keeneland’s top priority,” he said. “We have the most loyal fans in the world and we cannot wait for the day when we can welcome them back for live racing.”
Sunday kicks off the 12-day September yearling sale, which is followed by the fall meet, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the November breeding stock sale.
Sunday "marks the beginning of a significant three months of business for Keeneland and the horse industry as a whole,” Keeneland President-Elect and Interim Head of Sales Shannon Arvin said. “It is paramount that we conduct our sales and racing operations in a safe and responsible manner that promotes the health and success of everyone involved.
Arvin added that Keeneland will remain vigilant leading up to and throughout the fall meet to make sure all events observe the most current health and safety protocols and are able to respond to any changes that might arise.
To combat the spread of COVID-19, strict compliance with the following health and safety protocols will be required for participants and employees while they are at Keeneland:
- Individuals permitted to come onto the Keeneland grounds will be credentialed or ticketed in advance. Seating will be assigned and properly social distanced on race days.
- Participants include those with a competing horse, including a limited number of owners and trainers. Keeneland also will allow limited access to sponsors, box holders and Club members.
- Keeneland will not permit any general admission or walk-up attendees. Credentialed participants will be assigned a seat for the race day.
- Keeneland will maintain records to allow for contact tracing.
- Health screenings, including a series of questions and temperature checks, will continue at all entrance gates.
- All individuals must wear a face mask and maintain proper social distancing while at Keeneland.