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TEAM COVERAGE: Kentucky Oaks day at Churchill Downs

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 11:51 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s Kentucky Oaks day at Churchill Downs.

WKYT’s Amber Philpott, Victor Puente and Brian Milam are at Churchill Downs Friday to bring you team coverage of the day’s goings-on:

Things look a bit different this year in the infield, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the enthusiasm of the people at the racetrack.

Even though it’ll only be about 30% of the normal crowd at the infield, there was still a steady stream of people walking in to watch the races.

The people who got to Churchhill Downs early had their pick where to set up inside the track. One of the best features of the infield is the unique perspective when the races are run.

The reasons for coming out to the track on Friday were varied. Some people focused on fashion. Others, the beverages.

Many people we talked with Friday told us it was a chance to feel like things were starting to return to normal.

“We’re really excited to be here, to be outside. Around people,” one person said. “It’s exciting to come here from Nashville and just to actually enjoy this again, having everything out being able to socialize kind of.”

There were people walking around with signs saying masks required, a lot of people seemed to be going without them. Granted, people are outside and everyone seems to be distancing themselves.

“To see everybody this is a good thing. Well, we have our masks off because were eating but some people still have their mask on. I’ll put mine on when I’m done eating,” spectator Alicia Howard said.

Unlike previous years the people who bought the general admission tickets to the infield will not be able to access the front side of the track. Still, anything you need to do like betting or concessions they have set up in the infield.

Some things haven’t changed though, there were people buying mint juleps and other mixed drinks well before 10 a.m. on Friday. But, for most of the people in the infield, this will be a marathon, not a sprint.

Even with attendance restrictions at Churchill Downs, officials say they are expecting around 45,000 fans to attend the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. That would make it the largest sporting event of 2021 so far.

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