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Derby is back at old home in May, with fans and flowery hats

Gov. Andy Beshear indicated the plan for the Kentucky Derby may need to change because of...
Gov. Andy Beshear indicated the plan for the Kentucky Derby may need to change because of COVID-19. He said there could be capacity changes including the number of people allowed in and where they are.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: May. 1, 2021 at 10:12 AM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The bourbon is flowing again, flowery hats and humans are on the scene and 19 horses are ready to run the most chaotic race of their lives. After being disrupted by a pandemic, the Kentucky Derby is back with many of its traditions intact.

America’s longest continuously held sporting event returns to its traditional spot on the calendar - the first Saturday in May. The 147th edition comes less than eight months after it was run without spectators last September because of COVID-19, making it the shortest time between Derbies in history.

The eerie silence that settled over Churchill Downs last year when no spectators were allowed is being replaced by attendance of about 45,000 - some 100,000 less than usual. Masks are required. Food and drinks are all-inclusive to lessen long lines and separate payments for every transaction.

Essential Quality is the early 2-1 favorite in a field of 19 horses.

With the Derby restored to its usual day, last year’s upside down Triple Crown has been righted. The Preakness follows on May 15 and the Belmont, which kicked off the series a year ago, concludes it on June 5.

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