LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was picture-perfect weather at Churchill Downs as fan gathered for a day at the races headlined by the running of 147th Longines Kentucky Oaks.
The 5-2 favorite Malathaat won the Oaks in an incredibly tight race edging out Search Results to secure the garland of lilies. The win is trainer Todd Pletcher's fourth career Kentucky Oaks win.
“It was a great ride on a great filly for a great team," Pletcher said after the win.
Following an atypical September 146th running of Oaks and Kentucky Derby that saw no fans at the track, Churchill Downs opened their doors for their return with COVID-19 guidelines in place.
Reserved seating for Oaks and Derby is limited to 40-50% capacity, while private premium areas have up to 60% capacity. General admission tickets for the infield allow for only 25-30% capacity.
The limited capacity certainly did not dampen the spirit of fans at Churchill Downs as traditional Derby fashion was on display with the bright-pastel colors and flamboyant hats. As well as a new fashion accessory taking center stage: masks.
Signs are up throughout the track reminding patrons to wear masks and social distance. According to Churchill Downs, guests are only allowed to unmask when in their seats or actively eating and drinking.
Though some people have had masks on while walking throughout the facility, many were seen without a face covering.
Churchill Downs said they will be enforcing the mask mandate, but WHAS11 reporters on scene have not seen a lot of enforcement. What was seen, though, are staff members holding signs reminding people to put masks on.
WHAS11 reached out to Churchill to discuss how many people are maskless they said in part:
“Guests are required to wear a mask except when actively eating or drinking.”
We also saw health department officials observing the crowd. Churchill posted on its website that anyone who is not complying could be given a warning and repeat offenders will be asked to leave.