Churchill Downs postponed the Kentucky Derby until September, the latest rite of spring in sports to be struck by the coronavirus along with the Masters, March Madness and baseball season. Instead of May 2, the race will be run Sept. 5, kicking off Labor Day weekend.
It’s the first time the Derby won’t be held on the first Saturday in May since 1945, when it was run June 9. The federal government suspended horse racing nationwide for most of the first half of the year before World War II ended in early May, but not in time to hold the opening leg of the Triple Crown that month.
The date change still must be approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission at its meeting Thursday. The date belonged to smaller Ellis Park, which struck a deal with Churchill Downs. Skip Sayre, spokesman for Ellis Entertainment, said both sides agreed to keep the amount of money involved confidential.
Colonial Downs remains on schedule to open its stables for horses on July 9, ahead of the start of its six-week racing schedule. That schedule will open July 23 and continue through Aug. 29.
ACC cancels all spring sports
Virginia and Virginia Tech won’t be holding spring football or any other sporting events this season.
The ACC canceled all spring sports, a decision that was widely expected after the league indefinitely suspended sports last week.
That means neither the Cavaliers nor the Hokies will hold spring football practices, pro days for NFL scouts or their annual spring games. UVA was scheduled to play its spring game April 18 at Scott Stadium, with the Hokies taking the field at Lane Stadium the following weekend on April 25.
UVA also canceled its spring fundraising tour. Tech did not have an update on any possible changes to its spring fundraising schedule.
The Southeastern Conference also canceled sports for the rest of the school year. The ACC and SEC joined the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 in ending their seasons.
Meanwhile, national letter of intent signings for college athletes were suspended until April 15.
The Collegiate Commissioner’s Association, which administers the letter of intent used by NCAA Division I and II athletes, said the suspension will be re-evaluated on or before April 15.
French Open delayed 4 months
The French Open was postponed for about four months because of the coronavirus pandemic, shifting from May to September and juggling the tennis calendar.
The French tennis federation said it will hold its 15-day clay-court event at Roland Garros in Paris from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, instead of May 24 to June 7, “to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in organizing the tournament.”
The French Open’s new dates place it right after the hard-court U.S. Open is scheduled to be held in New York, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. Having just one week between two major championships, played on different surfaces, would be unusually short.
PGA Championship put off
The PGA Championship is being postponed, a source involved in the discussions told The Associated Press. It was scheduled for May 14-17 at Harding Park in San Francisco. There was no indication when the PGA Championship would be played, or if it would remain in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Golf Association canceled the first two amateur championships on its 2020 schedule. The U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball was scheduled for April 25-29 at Quail Creek in Naples, Fla. The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball was scheduled for May 23-27 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Neither will be played this year.
Durant tests positive
NEW YORK — Four Brooklyn Nets players, including Kevin Durant, have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to seven known players in the NBA.
The Nets did not name the players Tuesday, but Durant confirmed he was one of them to The Athletic, saying: “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine.”
The Nets said one player is exhibiting symptoms, while the other three are asymptomatic. All four players have been isolated and are under the care of team physicians.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can lead to more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
Virginia Sports Hall
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame postponed next month’s induction weekend events, which were to be held April 24-25 in Town Center of Virginia Beach.
The shrine’s board of directors hasn’t determined if the events will be rescheduled later this year or pushed to 2021. For those who have purchased tickets, the hall will make contact regarding next steps.
Baseball: Major League Baseball’s teams pledged $30 million for ballpark workers who will lose income because of the delay to the season caused by the coronavirus. Opening day was pushed back to mid-May at the earliest.
A second New York Yankees minor leaguer tested positive for the coronavirus. New York had announced a first positive test on Sunday, and general manager Brian Cashman said the player had been isolated and the Florida Department of Health notified.
The two Yankees minor leaguers are the only baseball players known to have tested positive.
Track and field: The Diamond League called off its first three meets of the season. The season is now tentatively set to begin in Stockholm on May 24.
Esports: Team matches for VHSL esports will be suspended for the next two weeks. Continuation of regular-season matches will be reassessed during this time.