Apopka residents will be feeling the strain of the global coronavirus pandemic that has hit the world. While there is a statewide Florida initiative and interest in reopening, Orange County still has their stay-at-home order largely in place that Apopka residents have to follow. This has naturally affected not only daily life within the city, but also the entire sports industry around America.
Horse racing has been particularly affected, with many not being able to place bets for Kentucky Derby day as originally planned for May 2nd, 2020. The good news for horse racing fans in Apopka though, is that the Derby has been rescheduled for September 2020 and should still go ahead.
Of course, the Derby is but one massive race that is a vital part of the US horse racing calendar. There are several other top races that have been rescheduled and should still go ahead later in the year, outlined below, assuming there is no extension to existing coronavirus regulations.
While the Kentucky Derby is arguably the biggest US horse race due to it being the first part of the famed Triple Crown, but the Oaks is also well followed. This race always takes place the day before the Derby and should have happened in early May 2020 as well. Like the Derby, the Oaks will now take place in early September 2020 instead.
A thoroughbred flat race on the Churchill Downs track, the Oaks is a grade 1 contest that is only open to 3-year-old fillies. The winner gets a cool $750,000 prize from the total purse of $1.25m. If you can go both days to the Oaks and Derby in September, it is a fantastic experience.
The Triple Crown is a series of three races involving the best three-year-old horses around. We have already mentioned the Kentucky Derby as being the first and how it looks like this will still go ahead later in 2020 – but what about the other two races in the series? The second race is usually the Preakness Stakes, and that was set to happen on May 16th, 2020. The group who organize the race has confirmed they will be looking at a revised date instead, but nothing has been decided as yet. It is pretty certain that this will happen, though, so the Triple Crown can be completed.
The last Triple Crown race is the Belmont Stakes. It is always an exciting event due to it being last up and it takes place on the fabled ‘Championship Track’ at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Another grade 1 race, this race is known as the ‘Test of the Champion' due to its difficulty. The race is planned for June 6, 2020, although officials may have to move it to a later date, depending on the COVID-19 situation nearer the time.
Another top race that seems likely to still happen at some point in 2020 is the Arlington Million. It was penned in for August 15 at the start of the year, and it could still go ahead as planned. Racing at Arlington Park has been suspended for now though, so there is a chance that officials there may have to run it later in the year. Apopka racing fans can expect to see this grade 1 event held in Illinois to take place at some point in 2020. With $1M in terms of prize money and the race being a vital part of the Breeders Cup Challenge Series, it is hard to think it will not be seen this year.
One exciting event all racing fans in Apopka look forward to every year is the Breeders Cup. Held at the Keeneland track in Lexington in 2020, it is a series of races held over a few days. The total purse for the whole event comes in at a staggering $30M, with some individual races seeing $6M for the victor. The 2020 Breeders Cup is expected to be held on the 6th and 7th of November 2020. With this still being a long way off, no postponement or move of dates has been made.
While the current situation around horse racing in the US is a little different for some races and tracks due to COVID-19, it is safe to assume that the top races we usually see should happen. The ones listed above certainly fall into this category and, while we may have to wait to check them out, they should still take place at some point during 2020.