Virtual Derby to feature Triple Crown champions

Horse Racing

Churchill Downs will recognize the first Saturday in May with a “Kentucky Derby at Home” online party, highlighted by a virtual Derby featuring 13 former Triple Crown winners in an effort to raise $2 million for coronavirus relief.

The 146th Kentucky Derby was moved from May 2 to Sept. 5 because of public health concerns about the pandemic, the first time horse racing’s marquee event won’t run on its traditional day since 1945.

The computer-generated Derby created by Inspired Entertainment will feature past Triple Crown champions using data algorithms, including historical handicapping information for each horse to determine the probability of potential finishing positions.

“Our fans will be captivated by the realistic view of the virtual race,” Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery said in a release. “And we can debate, as we do each year, our favorite to win.”

Fans can choose their horse on the race website starting April 30 and donate to COVID-19 relief efforts. Churchill Downs will match donations up to $1 million for the Team Kentucky Fund and Direct Relief.

Participants who choose the winner will have the chance to win a Kentucky Derby VIP Experience. The virtual Derby will be shown May 2 on NBC during a special broadcast featuring the 2015 Kentucky Derby, when American Pharoah began his Triple Crown run.

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