The Kentucky Derby was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the event was postponed until September due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This iconic race is the first in the Triple Crown and traditionally sets the stage for the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Now that it has been postponed, what are the statuses of the other two races?
According to NBC Sports, the Preakness Stakes has been postponed. The race was originally scheduled for May 16 at Pimlico Race Course but has since been moved to an unknown later date. InfieldFest, which takes place during Preakness Stakes and was set to be headlined by DJ Marshmellow, was also canceled. The Stronach Group, the company that owns Pimlico and other tracks, said that a new date will be determined based upon "best practices from local and governmental health authorities to protect our community."
Belmont Stakes has also been postponed due to the coronavirus. This is the third event in the Triple Crown and takes place in New York. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) is currently examining different dates to hold the race, which would likely happen a month after the rescheduled Kentucky Derby.
"As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend American life, decisions about large-scale public events must prioritize public health and safety above all else," the NYRA said in a statement. "NYRA will deliver an announcement only when that process has concluded to the satisfaction of state and local health departments. The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution with wide-reaching economic impact. We look forward to its 152nd edition in 2020."
The original Triple Crown schedule placed the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, but it was moved to Sept. 5. Under the new schedule, the Preakness Stakes could be held on Sept. 19. The Belmont Stakes would finish off the schedule a month later on Oct. 10. However, the schedule is still up in the air due to health and safety concerns.
A multitude of sporting events around the world were canceled or postponed in March due to the coronavirus, but some leagues are returning to action nearly two months later. The Chinese Professional Baseball League has held multiple games in empty stadiums while the Italian government has allowed its football clubs to begin holding practices once again. These changes don't automatically guarantee that the Triple Crown will be able to take place in the fall, but it appears to be more likely if residents of the United States continue to follow recommended protocol.