Archives for February 16, 2021

Questions and Answers about the 2021 Kentucky Derby

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions regarding this Year’s Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks from Churchill Downs.

Will the Derby take place on the first Saturday in May [2021]?

We do not anticipate moving our traditional date of the first Saturday in May. Last year, racing was not permitted in the state of Kentucky at all on the first Saturday in May so we had to move the Derby in compliance with those restrictions. This year, we don’t anticipate any restrictions on running the race on its traditional date.

Will masks be required at this year’s Derby? 

All indications suggest that masks will be required at Derby 2021 based on the projections of public health experts. We will continue to operate within the guidance and recommendations issued by local and state health officials as well as the CDC.

Churchill Downs Stock UpgradedWhy aren’t General Admission tickets on sale?  Why not open the infield going for people to spread out?

Based on current public health guidance, tickets are currently limited to those that are assigned to a specific seat and that can be socially distanced from other groups of attendees. If the circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 improve, we will consider selling general admission tickets.

What is being done to protect the backside workers that live on-site at Churchill Downs? What precautions will be taken for when they return? 

Just as the rest of the team at Churchill Downs Racetrack, the backside now operates under increased health and safety protocols. Churchill Downs invests in robust and routine testing that has helped us to successfully identify and isolate infection to prevent spread. 

What tickets are available to the 2021 Kentucky Derby and Oaks?

Based on current public health guidelines, we expect seating capacity for the 2021 Kentucky Derby to be extremely limited. At this time we are working to accommodate guests with contractual seating. If the circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 improve, then we will sell more reserved seats and consider selling general admission tickets. To be notified if and when additional tickets become available, please subscribe to the Kentucky Derby’s email list through the box on this page or follow @KentuckyDerby on social media. You may also be able to purchase tickets which become available from contractual guests through our official ticket resale site at or through our official experience package partner at

Will there be any changes to tickets for this year’s Derby?

This year, reserved seats to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks will be all-inclusive. This change allows us to improve our guests’ experience by reducing the amount of time spent in line, eliminating the need for cash transactions for food and beverages and providing the opportunity to try a greater variety of food. Further information can be found at

Will my tickets be refunded if COVID causes the Derby to be canceled or postponed?

We don’t anticipate any restrictions on running the Kentucky Derby this year on our traditional date of the first Saturday in May.

If you purchase tickets directly through Churchill Downs via Ticketmaster or the Official Kentucky Derby Ticket Exchange, and spectators are not permitted, you will be refunded the full amount paid less any processing, handling or shipping fees. Churchill Downs’ full ticket & admissions policy can be found here.

Derby Experiences has worked with its hotel, tour & transportation partners to offer an improved refund policy in 2021. If you purchase tickets through our official experience package partner, Derby Experiences, and spectators are not permitted, you will receive a credit for 100% of your payment towards the next scheduled running of the Kentucky Derby. For more information visit

If you purchase tickets from any other source, you will be subject to that source’s refund policy.  Churchill Downs is unable to process refunds for tickets purchased through a third party.

When will tickets to the rest of Derby Week and the Spring Meet go on sale?

We anticipate these Kentucky Derby tickets will go on sale in February 2021.


Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar: Lasix Prohibited in Prep Races

del mar delmar paddock sceneLEXINGTON, KY (February, 2021) – As 2021 kicks off with stakes races being run without Lasix at the leading racetracks and Thoroughbred racing events across the country, including the 2021 World Championships, Breeders’ Cup is pleased to announce that this year’s “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series races will be run without Lasix.

Additionally, Graded Stakes points for the purpose of selection into a Breeders’ Cup World Championships race will only be awarded in Lasix-free graded stakes races. As an operator of world-class racing with the highest safety and integrity measures in place, these initiatives are in keeping with Breeders’ Cup’s efforts to lead by example to move towards elimination of race day medications and to better align the industry with the rest of the world. Breeders’ Cup welcomes others to join these efforts to bring the U.S. further in line with international standards.

2020 saw a successful year of two-year-olds running Lasix-free, including on Future Stars Friday at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland. In addition, the groundbreaking passage of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, has provided a critical framework for the industry going forward. Under HISA, Lasix-free racing will be the general standard as of July 1, 2022.

“Even before HISA was signed into law, running the World Championships Lasix-free was a goal of Breeders’ Cup,” said Drew Fleming, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Limited. “Extending this standard to all races associated with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will hopefully set an example for other racetracks and stakeholders to embrace forthcoming safety and integrity measures, including the elimination of race day medication, as a new, safer era for our storied sport approaches.”

Aligning Breeders’ Cup’s year-round “Win and You’re In” program with the World Championships by modifying the Field Selection Process and allocation of Challenge Race designations to races that prohibit Lasix further strengthens Breeders’ Cup commitment to this effort. The safety of human and equine athletes and the integrity of our sport must always come first, which is why Breeders’ Cup, like so many others around the world, supports eliminating Lasix in racing.


The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.

The 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media.

The Road to Kentucky Heats Up

horse racing blinkersSimilar to the Cheltenham Festival in England, the Kentucky Derby is arguably one of the biggest horse racing must-sees in the world. A festival with a very rich and prestigious history, there is no denying how anticipated and valued the Derby is. As the Road to Cheltenham gets us on our way to The Festival, so too does the Road to Kentucky take us to the Derby. Both races come up at around the same time of the year, making it a double whammy of horse racing’s finest for our entertainment. Unlike the British calendar, however, the US is not very populated but still has plenty to go around. With so much to enjoy and on display, both home and internationally, the punters of nearby Tennessee will be spoiled for options with the trusted Twinspires Tennessee app there to guide them by keeping them in the loop with all the tasty runs of the month.


In the US, the month of February saw an early run with the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, a Grade 3 race for three-year-old colts. The winner, Candy Man Rocket, showed out in 1:44:30, taking home ten qualifying points for the Derby. That winning time was two seconds slower than other victors in recent years, who have always been within the 1:42 range, showing how much the off year with the pandemic might have affected the pace and conditioning of horses; it may be a trend to watch closely. So close to Valentine’s Day, the 13th of February will see the Risen Star Stakes come to Fairgrounds, a Grade 2 run over One and one-eighth of a mile for three-year-old colts. Over in England, Lingfield Park will be serving up an early run of flats starting at 11 am, followed by Chelmsford City, while Newbury and Warwick will be offering a series of jump races, as the Road To Cheltenham continues. No Valentine’s Day races in the US, but Exeter and Southwell will have that covered on English soil with seven races each. Late February will see the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream take center stage in the US as one of the marquee races on the Road to Kentucky. The Fountain of Youth Stakes has produced some fine performances in recent years that have gone on to shine in the Derby, so it is without a doubt worth keeping within eyesight.


However, March is when things start to get real serious, offering seven races, four more than in February, including the prestigious Florida Derby on the 27th of March. The Gotham Stakes and Frank E. Kilroe Mile whet the appetite for what will be a tasty month before the Beholder Mile runs on the 13th of March. The month ends on a high note, with the Dubai Carnival running simultaneously with the Florida Derby.