The 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1) is postponed until Sept. 5, but the first Saturday in May will still be observed with Churchill Downs offering daylong festivities for fans at home, highlighted by a virtual clash of the 13 Triple Crown winners.
The virtual race, “The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown,” will be aired during an NBC broadcast from 3 to 6 p.m. (ET) on May 2, Churchill Downs announced Thursday. Developed by Inspired Entertainment, the computer simulation employs “data algorithms including historical handicapping information about each horse, which helps to determine the probability of their potential finishing positions.”
Aside from the entertainment of discussing and watching a virtual contest among the Triple Crown winners – Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018) – the event is also designed to raise $2 million for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts.
Fans can select which Triple Crown winner they favor to win on www.KentuckyDerby.com (starting April 30) and donate to COVID-19 relief. Those who select the winning horse will be entered to win the ultimate Kentucky Derby 146 VIP Experience.
Churchill Downs will match up to $1 million of the donations. The fundraiser chiefly benefits the Team Kentucky Fund and Direct Relief, with a small percentage going to the R.E.I.N. Fund (Relief for Equine Industry Needs) to support backstretch workers and provide essential care for horses during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The anticipation of which Triple Crown winner will emerge as the ultimate champion is thrilling,” Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen said, “but most importantly, we are proud to use this platform as a force for good by raising money for these worthy COVID-19 emergency initiatives. We urge fans to join us by donating and celebrating with us from home.”
Churchill Downs is helping fans to create their “Kentucky Derby at home” experience with virtual tours of the track and Kentucky Derby Museum; ideas for recipes (including a cocktail) and decorations; children’s activities; an online fashion contest; and even how to make a fascinator. Details will be available at www.KentuckyDerbyParty.com.
“For many fans around the country, the first Saturday in May has become a part of their family’s yearly traditions,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack.
“While we eagerly look forward to the 146th Kentucky Derby this year on the first Saturday in September, we will celebrate the annual excitement of our traditional date with our fans and community by offering ways for us to join together for a great cause. Our fans will be captivated by the realistic view of the virtual race and we can debate, as we do each year, our favorite to win.”