Great Britain

Churchill Downs expect to welcome 23,000 spectators for Kentucky Derby in early September as wait goes on in Britain

DERBY DAY

US track Churchill Downs hopes to welcome 23,000 punters to the Kentucky Derby next month.

The rescheduled fixture normally attracts crowds of well over 100,000.

But in these strange times, numbers will be cut dramatically with reserved seating the only way of ensuring health and safety guidelines can be met.

Churchill had hoped to open up the inner ring to general admittance but have failed in that bid.

Officials were left disappointed by the news, but it is in stark contrast to the empty racecourses in Britain.

Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said: "For those guests who plan to join us for this year's Derby, we promise you that we will make it a wonderful experience, and most importantly, we will make it as safe and comfortable as we possibly can."

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In Britain it remains that only a handful of owners are allowed on course, and after a trial day for 5,000 punters was canned at Glorious Goodwood, the sport looks no closer to welcoming back the soul of the sport.

Empty grandstands will be seen at next week's Ebor Festival at York, with Ayr and Newmarket two courses hoping to put their hands up for future pilot events involving crowds in September.

These reports were put to the RCA who so far have refused to speculate on any progress.

For now, there looks no end to the empty racecourses hanging on for their lives.

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