The $12 million Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest purse in horse racing, will be postponed until next year. That’s according to an announcement from the Dubai Media Office, a governmental agency. Officials had planned to run the race March 28 without spectators over concerns about the new coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.
The Dubai World Cup had previously planned to run spectator-free with “only horse connections, racing officials, accredited media and sponsors” allowed in.
To safeguard the health of all participants, the higher organising committee of the Dubai World Cup 2020 has decided to postpone 25th edition of the global tournament to next year. pic.twitter.com/hwHfBILqfj
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) March 22, 2020
This is the latest high profile race to be affected by precautions over COVID-19. For the second time ever, the Kentucky Derby has been postponed, with the 146th edition moved to September 5. It was initially scheduled for May 2.
New Derby prep races will be added to the current calendar soon, and points already earned will still count towards Derby qualification. The rest of the Triple Crown may also move, with the Preakness potentially sliding to later in September and the Belmont moving to early October. Both are still in talks.
Back in 1945, the Kentucky Derby was postponed to June 9 due to World War II. After that, the entire Triple Crown schedule shifted, resulting in all three races being run in consecutive weeks. The 1901 Derby was run on Monday, April 29.
Tracks around the world are running without spectators or have halted operations entirely, canceling stakes races, Kentucky Derby prep races, racehorse sales and more.