Churchill Downs: May 2, 2020

Derby in the time of Corona

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

It was a Kentucky Derby day like no other on May 2, 2020 when The Voice-Tribune photographer, Andrea Hutchinson, visited an empty Churchill Downs on what would’ve been the bustling, fan-filled Kentucky Derby 146. 

There were no crowds of people dressed in their brightly colored suits and sky high fascinators or wide brimmed hats. There was not the familiar sound of handicappers and announcers being broadcast across the entirety of the track and from the winners circle to the paddock to the infield. The smell of horses was still faintly there, but the stalls were all empty — void of the white, gray, brown, black and spotted favorites we all spent months in advance researching and planning our bets for. 

The sound of the ice sloshing around in the tubs of perfectly premade mint juleps was missing, as was the click clack of heels across the clubhouse floors. The boxes and grandstands were empty as far as the eye could see, leaving a clear line of sight from one end to the other. The finish line stood bare along with the starting gate, awaiting a lineup of twenty plus horses that would never come. 

It was a day we will all remember that will hopefully make us truly appreciate the beauty, excitement and joy that the first Saturday in May holds for us here in Louisville, KY at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We look forward to the rescheduled Kentucky Derby day on September 5, 2020 and hope we can all join together at that time to celebrate this treasured tradition. We can just hear it now, those three simple words that lead to the most exciting two minutes in sports, “And they’re off!” Until then, we can still enjoy the memories of Derbys past and look forward to many more Kentucky Derbys to come.