The infield at Churchill Downs was in the process of being evacuated and the American Turf (gr. IIT) delayed for at least 45 minutes as a strong line of storms approached Louisville, Ky., from the west at about 4:30 p.m. EDT.
The announcement was made just before 4:30 p.m. Post time for the American Turf was scheduled for 4:44 p.m., but the horses were sent back to the barn as a precaution.
An announcement was made for “all patrons in the infield to calmly exit and take cover,” and that “the storm is expected to move quickly, and racing will resume.” Churchill officials were said to be assisting infield patrons, who appeared slow to respond.
The storms were predicted to hit at about 5 p.m. Given the prediction of heavy rain, it’s expected the turf and dirt, which are firm and fast, respectively, will be “off” when racing resumes.
The Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) was scheduled for 5:45 p.m. but clearly would be raced later. Churchill later post time for the American Turf at 5:30 p.m. and the Oaks at 6:20 p.m.