The 2020 Kentucky Derby may have been postponed until this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but NBC will still be airing a special derby broadcast on the first Saturday of May. The broadcast will feature, among other things, Churchill Downs’ first-ever virtual horse race, and, in relative terms, it looks to be a whopper.
Churchill Downs has announced that the NBC broadcast will highlight Churchill Downs’ first-ever virtual horse race – ‘The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown’ – a computer-simulated version of a race.
According to a release from Churchill, the virtual race, created by Inspired Entertainment, will feature Thoroughbred racing’s past 13 Triple Crown winners and use data algorithms, including historical handicapping information about each horse, which will help to determine the probability of their potential finishing positions.
Beginning on April 30, fans will be able to visit kentuckyderby.com to choose their favourite horse to win the virtual race and also join Churchill Downs in making a charitable donation to COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. All participants who select the winning horse will be entered to win the ultimate Kentucky Derby 146 VIP Experience.
Churchill Downs has pledged to match up to $1 million of donations with funds to be directed to the Team Kentucky Fund and Direct Relief. A small percentage will be earmarked for the R.E.I.N. Fund (Relief for Equine Industry Needs), a program managed by Churchill Downs Foundation designed to benefit workers of the backside whose livelihood has been impacted by COVID-19 and also to help ensure essential care for horses throughout the pandemic.
(With files from Churchill Downs)