Although the postponement of the Kentucky Derby likely has horse racing fans disappointed, the entertainment form is not at a complete standstill. Although the original plans for the Louisiana Derby are somewhat altered, the show will go on.
The situation regarding horse racing across the country remains fluid. Details for this weekend are firm right now, however.
What we know about the Louisiana Derby right now
The field will run this Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m. ET. There are some alterations to the original plans, however.
According to a press release, the race’s length has changed from nine furlongs to 1 3/16 miles. Perhaps more importantly, Fair Grounds Race Course will not allow any spectators.
That not only goes for this weekend’s event but for the rest of the season. Despite that change, Fair Grounds is still somewhat of an outlier in this decision.
Other tracks around the country, like Arkansas’ Oaklawn and the Kentucky Downs, have completely shuttered. Fair Grounds’ decision is risky for a few reasons.
The Center for Disease Control has recommended that all scheduled gatherings of at least 50 people over the next eight weeks be canceled or postponed due to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Even without spectators, the media and race staff alone will surpass 50.
Beyond health concerns, this could be a bad optic for Fair Grounds. At a time when people are practicing social distancing and under government mandates to sequester in place, holding a horse race can come off as not treating the CDC mandates seriously.
Unless Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards steps in, it seems that the horses will run on Saturday regardless. There will be plenty of media coverage available, thanks to NBC Sports Network and TVG.
Details on NBC Sports and TVG’s race coverage
NBC Sports will simulcast TVG’s Trackside Live on Saturday, starting at 4 p.m. ET. The Louisiana Derby will be a premier part of the show this weekend.
With a lot of other entertainment options canceled or postponed, NBC Sports has upped its coverage of horse racing as long as it continues. Its plan to simulcast Trackside Live extends beyond this weekend, to next weekend’s Florida Derby as well.
Although spectators aren’t allowed this weekend, there will be horse betting action on the race. Bettors do not have to be legal residents of LA to have a horse in the race.
Current wagering favorites for the Louisiana Derby
While pari-mutuel wagering is not expressly legal in the state of Tennessee, several advanced-deposit wagering (ADW) apps operate within Tennessee state lines. Though there is no Tennessee racing commission, you can still bet on these apps knowing that other state racing commissions, such as Louisiana in this case, are overseeing things. TVG is one such ADW betting app option.
While some of the betting apps and websites will accept wagers from within Tennessee, pari-mutuel wagering is not expressly legal in the state. Regardless, there is a clear favorite in the race right now.
Enforceable, who won the 2020 Lecomte Stakes also at Fair Grounds, is the current favorite from the number 10 pole position. Also seeing some action in the field are Silver State from the number 13 position and Modernist from number 14.
While it’s uncertain how much longer races will continue, the action appears set for this weekend. Thanks to NBCSN and TVG, those who can’t attend will still be able to take in the action.