LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland announced Tuesday that its 2020 fall meet, held Oct. 2-24, will be closed to the public due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
“The safety of our employees, our participants and our fans remains Keeneland’s top priority,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason 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. The decision to close the meet to the public was made after consulting with local and state government officials and public health experts and monitoring how various sporting venues and events around the world have operated during the pandemic. With the guidance of these experts and lessons learned from recent events, we know this is the responsible course of action.”
“Sunday’s kickoff of the 12-day September Yearling Sale, which is followed by the fall meet, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the November Breeding Stock Sale, 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 Bishop 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.
“We will remain flexible and vigilant leading up to and throughout our fall meet to ensure that we observe the most current health and safety protocols and respond to any changes in a timely and thoughtful manner.”
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. Similar protocols were in place for the summer meet and are in effect for Keeneland’s current September Yearling Sale:
- 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.