2020 Kentucky Derby moved to college football’s opening weekend

Louisville is going to have quite the party on their hands in the fall if the (sports) world has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic in time.

In an announcement on Tuesday, the organization responsible for the Kentucky Derby announced that the annual spring staple  is moving to Labor Day weekend this year. Obviously gathering 100,000+ people in one place goes against the recommendations of authorities in light of the COVID-19 outbreak so the decision to move the race to later in the year is pretty unsurprising.

However, that sure sets up an interesting week in the Commonwealth. The 146th running of the Derby was originally set for Saturday, May 2 but will now take place on Saturday, Sept. 5 (the Kentucky Oaks will run the day prior). As many readers of CFTalk will note, that’s the traditional opening weekend in college football and the first full Saturday slate of games in the sport.

In what may be a fortuitous bit of circumstances for some in the city, the Louisville Cardinals are scheduled to hold their opening game of the 2020 season on Thursday, Sept. 3 against N.C. State. That decision was made a while ago not knowing that moving the derby was a possibility obviously but makes things on the calendar in the city workout a bit better than if they had overlapped more.

Fans of the other major college football team in the state might not be quite as lucky though as Kentucky’s 2020 opener against Eastern Michigan is scheduled for that same Labor Day weekend Saturday (kickoff time TBD). It’s possible that game eventually gets moved up to either Thursday or Friday in order to allow Wildcats fans to watch the game in Lexington before taking in the derby. Like most things however, such a move is on the back-burner for the time being as everybody deals with a new reality in the wake of the spreading COVID-19 virus.

Either way, the Kentucky Derby being held in the fall for the first time means it will clash directly with college football in the Commonwealth and beyond. Such, sadly, is life right now as the sports calendar does its best to adjust to the continued coronavirus outbreak.