Horse Racing Hiatus Hits Racetracks, But Betting On Kentucky Derby Prep Races Continues

Posted By FairwayJay on March 16, 2020 - Last Updated on March 17, 2020

As most of the sports world continues its hiatus from the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), horse racing has been interrupted at select racetracks. That includes the cancellation of racing at Turf Paradise (Arizona) and Parx (Pennsylvania) due to the coronavirus concerns.

But others remain open and racing without fans in the stands. This past weekend, the Road to the Kentucky Derby continued with the running of the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park and $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park. Both those races awarded Kentucky Derby points to the top four finishers with the winner of the Rebel securing 50 points and the Jeff Ruby winner adding 20 points.

Horses continue to accrue points while the status of the Kentucky Derby remains in question. Churchill Downs released a statement last week as it continues preparations for the Kentucky Derby, scheduled for May 2.

“With the event still seven weeks away, a decision will be made closer to that date with respect to postponing the event until later in the year, using the most recent information while working with and seeking guidance from public health experts and authorities.”

Trainer Bob Baffert, who has several horses competing for a gate spot in the Derby, suggested that the race could be moved to June or even September. “Nobody’s really sure when anything is going to happen,” he said Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

UPDATE: The Kentucky Derby has been rescheduled for Sept. 5.

Major racetracks continue without fans in the stands

Many racetracks made announcements on March 12 regarding their racing schedules. In an effort to preserve public health and safety with concerns surrounding the coronavirus, live racing will continue “spectator-free” without the public or fans in the stands. Only licensed personnel, racing officials, essential staff, horsemen, owners, accredited media and limited friends and family will be allowed at the racetracks.

Claim your $300 Risk Free Bet at TVG!
Risk Free Bet
Risk Free Bet Up To $300
TVG Is Our #1 Horse Betting Recommendation
Use Promo Code: LSRTVG

How to bet on horse racing online

That means you can still bet on races big and small on betting apps like TVG and FanDuel Racebook. Racetracks continuing with live racing include:

  • Aqueduct: Queens, New York
  • Churchill Downs: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Fair Grounds: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Gulfstream Park: Hallandale Beach, Florida
  • Keeneland: Lexington, Kentucky
  • Laurel Park: Laurel, Maryland
  • Oaklawn Park: Hot Springs, Arkansas
  • Santa Anita Park: Arcadia, California
  • Turfway Park: Florence, Kentucky

Bet on races every day

Plans and schedules at the race tracks are subject to change, of course. But for now, gamblers can still bet on horse races online and legally.

While our Kentucky Derby Betting Guide will prepare you for America’s biggest horse race, TVG has additional betting resources and online tools to help bet on races taking place every day around the country.

From win, place and show bets to exotic wagers like the superfecta, trifecta, exacta and super high five, there are many ways to wager on horse racing. The Kentucky Derby and all the Championship Series prep races leading up to the Run for the Roses provide a thrill for fans and those that watch and wager on the Sport of Kings. But the money generated from the tracks and online wagering platforms also contributes to the industry with a portion of the money going back into the sport.

Whether a beginner learning the terminology and odds or a seasoned horse racing pro that understands the stats, speed figures, racing form and absorbs all the knowledge on the tracks, trainers, jockeys and angles to succeed, you can enhance your online experience with TVG during this “spectator-free” time at the track. And you can do it all from the comfort of your home.

Road to the Kentucky Derby continues

The weekend of March 21-22 has two more Derby preps including the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) – the first Championship Series race to award 100 Derby points to the winner. Risen Star Division 1 winner Mr. Monomoy and runner-up Enforceable, who won the Jan. 18 Lecomte (G3) at the Fair Grounds, are in the 14-horse field. Risen Star Division 2 winner Modernist is also running in the 1 3/16 mile Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds on March 21.

Ten of the Louisiana Derby runners already have Derby qualifying points led by Modernist (50), who currently sits tied for third on the Derby points leaderboard. Modernist trainer Bill Mott, who won last year’s Kentucky Derby with longshot Country House (65-1) after the horse finished fourth in the Louisiana Derby, has the only horse in the March 21 Louisiana Derby that has secured a spot in the 2020 Kentucky Derby. Enforceable has 33 Derby points, but the Mark Casse-trained son of Tapit needs a top-3 finish along with all other entries to quality or remain in contention for a spot in the starting gate for the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Enforceable is the 7-2 morning line favorite and won’t be affected drawing near the outside in post No. 10 as he is a deep closer and won the Lecomte breaking from the No. 10 post. Modernist is a co-second choice at 6-1 from post No. 14 along with third-place Risen Star Division 1 finisher Silver State, who also breaks from the outside in post No. 13. Silver State was a co-favorite and finished a close second behind Enforceable and a neck in front of Mr. Monomoy in the Lecomte for trainer by Steve Asmussen.

The Sunland Derby is March 22 and the final Championship Series race that awards 50 points to the winner.

The four major Derby preps in the U.S. in early April will all be run without fans in the stands as the April 4 Wood Memorial (Aqueduct), Blue Grass Stakes (Keeneland) and Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita Park) all send the winner to the Kentucky Derby. The Arkansas Derby on April 11 at Oaklawn Park will also send the winner to the Kentucky Derby, and fans can get another look at Rebel winner Nadal, who is expected to complete his Derby preparations with a run in the Arkansas Derby. The April 11th Lexington Stakes at Keeneland will award 20 points to the winner and give another horse a chance to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby field if he’s accumulated at least 20 points from other Derby preps.

Three more major Derby preps complete the month of March on Saturday the 28th when the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park gets most the headlines in the U.S. But the UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai will also give that race winner a spot in the Kentucky Derby with that race being run without fans in the stands. Same for the Fukuryu at Nakayama Racecourse in Japan, which is the final Derby prep on the Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby.

FairwayJay Avatar
Written by

FairwayJay is a leading national sports and gaming analyst and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful professionals. Jay has pursued his passions and maintained a pulse on the sports, gaming and poker industries while living in Las Vegas for nearly two decades. He's been a regular featured guest on sports and gaming radio shows, podcasts and produces sports betting and related industry articles and content for various sites and sources.

View all posts by FairwayJay