Saturday marks the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby here locally, Ellis Park held a watch party for fans wanting to take in the action.
"A little odd, usually our racing season starts with the Kentucky Derby and this year it's ending with it. So, it's a little bit of a different vibe here but still everybody is excited, and there is a really big buzz in the air, a lot excited people, a lot of really happy customers," said Ellis Park General Manager Jeff Inman.
We are thrilled that we can host anybody for a watch and wager today for the 146th Kentucky Derby. For a while there it looked like we were going to have no fans at all and a lot of tracks have yet to have fans so, just to even have them to watch the Derby here is such a blessing to us," said Ellis Park Marketing Director Allie Sclafani.
Ellis Park usually has a watch party for the race, but this year's version has additional safety measures put in place due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
"We have to keep people to reserved tables. Tables require advanced reservations. We temperature check our people. We make sure we get a phone number in case we have to contact trace. Tables are 6 feet apart and we are able to keep the rooms at only 50 percent capacity," said Inman.
"We still have sneeze guards at every face to face location. Social distancing reminders wherever lines or cues form. We've kept that and maintained a 50 percent capacity even when we were allowed to go to 60 percent. We just feel that it is safer so we are doing the best that we can to maintain those protocols and we do audits almost every single day," said Sclafani
The postponement actually helped the track in some ways. With more time to plan, there was more time to make sure everyone attending could feel safe and comfortable doing so.
"We typically open at ten but today we opened at 8 a.m. So having a couple extra days to just audit everything and make sure everything was where it needed to be was definitely helpful so that's how it looks today," said Sclafani.