No spectators at Keeneland, sales cancelled

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) Kenneland will run its spring session starting April 2 but without spectators, the track announced Thursday afternoon.

It also has cancelled its 2-year-old sale.

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The changes are in response to coronavirus concerns.

A limited number of credentials will be provided to those directly connected to horses running at Keeneland. The track administration said it 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,” the track said in a statement.

Patrons who purchased tickets for racing dates between April 2-11 will automatically receive a full refund. Patrons who have already purchased tickets for racing dates between April 15-24 have the option to request a full refund at any time.

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,” the track wrote.

“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,” Thomason continued.