Jockey protocols for riding at Kentucky Downs

Jennie Rees

Advisory: Jockey Protocols for 2020 Kentucky Downs meet

Kentucky Downs is taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of racing participants at its 2020 meet on Sept. 7, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 16.

Jockeys who have gone through the Derby Week protocols at Churchill Downs will be allowed to race during the Kentucky Downs meet. Those riders will need to have a negative COVID test taken on Sept. 3 (when Churchill Downs will be administering testing) in order to compete on Kentucky Downs’ opening-day card, which is Labor Day, Sept. 7.

Jockeys who choose to leave the state of Kentucky after the Derby will not be allowed to return for racing at Kentucky Downs until they can show a negative COVID test taken no farther out than 72 hours prior to returning to Kentucky. In addition, they will be required to have another negative COVID test performed in Kentucky or the metro Nashville area before they will be permitted to ride at Kentucky Downs. 

Jockeys planning on riding at the Kentucky Downs meet but who are not riding at Churchill Downs during Derby Week must have a negative COVID test taken no farther out than 72 hours prior to coming to Kentucky. In addition, they will be required to be tested in Kentucky or the metro Nashville area and must present another negative result before being permitted to ride.

Jockeys will not be permitted on Kentucky Downs’ grounds without proof of a negative test result. Test results should be emailed to racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer at

It is expected that Churchill Downs will conduct an additional test for jockeys that will be taken at Kentucky Downs on a date to be determined during the meet’s second week.

Kentucky Downs will have three separate jockeys quarters to provide space for riders to stay separated. The track is bringing in two motorhomes to accommodate East Coast and West Coast riders in addition to the Kentucky riders (which include out-of-state jockeys who ride Derby Week and go through Churchill Downs’ protocols).

Jockeys will be expected to wear a mask or facial covering while on the grounds and while on horseback until leaving the starting gate. Jockeys are expected to cover their mouth and nose after pulling their mount up.

Trainers and their employees also must show a negative COVID test result within the previous 72 hours before being permitted on Kentucky Downs property. Trainers and their employees will be expected to wear masks or facial coverings.

Urgent Care Centers of Kentucky ( has 12 facilities with rapid testing around Lexington and Central Kentucky. Appointments are required can be made through their website. Results are back within an hour.

Also in Kentucky, FirstCare performs rapid testing with locations including Shepherdsville and Henderson. Walk-ins are allowed as available but appointments are recommended. Note that appointments cannot be made until 72 hours before the desired time. More information at

This information is provided as a courtesy. If using the above information, please verify independently to make sure the facility where you make an appointment and/or get a test can quickly turn around the results (usually about a half-hour).

Photos by Grace Clark

Tags: Jockeys Kentucky Downs Kentucky Derby Week COVID-19 COVID testing Churchill Downs