(WAVE/CNN/Meredith) -- Churchill Downs is preparing for the 2020 Kentucky Derby, despite countless setbacks and regulations.
Dealing with coronavirus restrictions from the governor’s office and social unrest in the streets of Louisville, Churchill Downs management is continuing to revisit their plans for the Kentucky Derby. Some members of the community are even pushing for a boycott of the event.
Churchill Downs officials are aware of the current state of the city and know the Derby will not be the same as normal.
“With all that is going on, it just cannot be the same celebration that it normally is,” Bill Castanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs, said. “However, we hope that when we run it for 146th consecutive year this September, the event will serve as an inspiration and a unifying force.”
Despite economic hurdles caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Castanjen said the company is in good shape – 80-85% of its furloughed employees have been brought back to work across several Churchill-owned locations nationwide.
The company has also seen a strong showing in online wagering, which is expected to increase in quarter three if the Preakness and Kentucky Derby are held as scheduled.
While less people will be allowed into the stadium for the Derby, and general admission tickets are not being sold, Castanjen said the Derby is in a good place.
“The Derby long-term has not been damaged in any way. And as folks have asked for refunds, it's been humbling to go through the process with them, and many have rolled the money forward to the next year,” Castanjen said. “Here's the thing: we are going to do what's right by our customers and our sponsors."
More announcements about the Derby are expected in the coming weeks.