The health and safety of Keeneland’s fans, horsemen, athletes and staff are at the forefront of every decision our leadership makes about our racing, sales and hospitality operations. After detailed consultations with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and the Kentucky Department for Public Health and with Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Keeneland is taking the following steps out of an abundance of caution to do our part in containing the spread of COVID-19 while upholding our commitments to the local community, the Thoroughbred industry and our staff:
Keeneland’s Spring Meet will open on April 2 without spectators. However, a limited number of credentials will be provided to those directly connected to horses running at Keeneland. We will work with government officials and relevant health authorities to consider re-opening to spectators on April 15. This decision has been made out of an abundance of caution to protect the fans, staff and horsemen that make up the Keeneland community. Our goal is to showcase the best of Thoroughbred racing in a safe and transparent environment for everyone involved.
Patrons who purchased tickets for racing dates between April 2-11 will automatically receive a full refund on those purchases. Patrons who have already purchased tickets for racing dates between April 15-24 have the option to request a full refund at any time.
With this same caution, Keeneland has canceled the 2020 April Two-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale scheduled for Tuesday, April 7. Based on the ongoing discussions with government authorities, we concluded that this decision aligns best with our commitment and responsibility to put the safety and health of our community above all else.
“While our horsemen and fans are certainly disappointed about us having to take these measures, it is critical to protect the health and safety of our patrons, employees and participants from the spread of COVID-19,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We take our responsibility to the community and the horse industry seriously and we will continue to work in partnership with government authorities.”
Additionally, our leadership team is actively working to ensure all Keeneland employees have access to support measures as the situation continues to evolve. Nothing is off the table for consideration, and we will be in constant internal communication to protect the Keeneland family from the negative economic consequences that come with public health crises.
The increased health and safety precautions that we have implemented to date, including increased access to hand-sanitizing stations, more frequent cleaning and disinfecting activities and expanded access to contactless payment and wagering platforms, remain in place this Spring and beyond, and will continue to expand as advised by government authorities. We urge our patrons to practice common sense public health practices by avoiding direct contact and staying home if sick.
Now is the time to come together and do our part to protect those who are at high risk of infection. That means complying with guidance released by the experts at the CDC and local health departments. To this end, we urge those who might have been exposed to the virus because of international or domestic travel to various hotspots to join us in looking out for our community by practicing social distancing and following government guidelines surrounding self-quarantine as required.
Our community is strong and resilient. Keeneland, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the U.S. government are doing everything in our power to keep us healthy and safe as this situation continues to evolve.
For additional details and Frequently Asked Questions on this subject, please visit keeneland.com/COVID19. Keeneland will continue to update this area of our website as information becomes available.
For more than 80 years, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. The world’s largest Thoroughbred auction house, Keeneland conducts four sales a year, in January, April, September and November, and its sales graduates dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. Keeneland hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2015 and will hold the event again on Nov. 6-7, 2020. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a privately held company with a not-for-profit mission that returns its earnings to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses and millions of dollars donated in support of horse industry initiatives and charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. Keeneland also maintains the Keeneland Library, a world-renowned public research institution with the mission of preserving information about the Thoroughbred industry. To learn more, visit Keeneland.com.