Change does not come easily to the Kentucky Derby.

Fans sip mint juleps, don fancy hats and dress clothes and sing to the melancholy strains of “My Old Kentucky Home” as the thoroughbreds step onto the track on the first Saturday in May. It has always made the Derby as much a piece of Americana as a horse race.

The country’s longest continuously held sports event thrives on this tradition, especially its date on the calendar.

That changed Tuesday.

Churchill Downs postponed the Derby until September, the latest rite of spring in sports to be struck by the new coronavirus along with the Masters, March Madness and baseball season. Instead of May 2, the race will be run Sept. 5, kicking off Labor Day weekend.

“It’s good that they didn’t cancel it,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has several top contenders that could earn him a record-tying sixth Derby victory.

However, Baffert added, “Until they get their arms around this virus, we’re all day-to-day”

It’s the first time the Derby won’t be held on the first Saturday in May since 1945, when it was run June 9. The federal government suspended horse racing nationwide for most of the first half of the year before World War II ended in early May, but not in time to hold the opening leg of the Triple Crown that month.

The Preakness is scheduled for May 16 at Pimlico in Baltimore, and no decision has yet been made on its status.

The Belmont is June 6. The New York Racing Association said “decisions about large-scale public events must prioritize public health and safety above all else.”

NBA: Four Brooklyn Nets players, including Kevin Durant, have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to seven known players in the NBA.

The Nets did not name the players, but Durant confirmed he was one of them to The Athletic, saying: “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine. We’re going to get through this.”

The Nets announced that one player is exhibiting symptoms, while the other three are asymptomatic. All four players have been isolated and are under the care of team physicians.

The Nets added that all players and members of their travel party are being asked to remain isolated and closely monitor their health, but the team’s ability to get testing that has been unavailable to so many others drew criticism from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We wish them a speedy recovery. But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested,” de Blasio wrote on Twitter.

“Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

BASEBALL: Major League Baseball’s teams have pledged $30 million for ballpark workers who will lose income because of the delay to the season caused by the new coronavirus.

Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement a day after pushing back opening day to mid-May at the earliest.

Many ballpark employees are paid by the game and will not have that income during the delay. If the schedule is cut, their income likely would be reduced.

• A second New York Yankees minor leaguer has tested positive for the coronavirus, a person familiar with the diagnosis told The Associated Press.

New York had announced a first positive test on Sunday, and GM Brian Cashman said the player had been isolated and the Florida Department of Health notified.

The two Yankees minor leaguers are the only baseball players known to have tested positive.

OLYMPICS: Tokyo Olympic organizers are pushing ahead with the Japanese leg of the torch relay despite the threat of the spreading coronavirus.

The Olympic flame, which is due to arrive on Friday from Greece, is scheduled to navigate the country for four months from March 26 until the planned opening of the Olympics on July 24 at the national stadium in Tokyo.

Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said crowds will be allowed to gather on the roadside to watch the relay. The first leg begins in northern Fukushima prefecture, which was devastated in 2011 by an earthquake, tsunami and the meltdown of three nuclear reactors.

Muto asked for restraint and warned the relay could be stopped or delayed.

• The IOC spelled out contingency plans to adapt qualifying procedures for about 4,700 spots still up for grabs for the Tokyo Games, in a nod to the realities of a sports calendar being shuffled by uncertainty with the coronavirus spreading across the globe.

The IOC said it was still committed to holding the Olympics as scheduled, beginning July 24. But at the end of the first of a series of meetings being held this week with athletes and Olympic committees, the IOC conceded the lead-up to Tokyo was anything but business as usual.

The Olympic body said that “with more than four months to go before the games, there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counterproductive.”

SOCCER: Taking a tough decision that became more inevitable by the day, the governing body of European soccer postponed its marquee championship for one year.

Euro 2020 became Euro 2021 in a major shift for an international soccer calendar that is on lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak and with no clear end in sight.

The tournament that was due to open on June 12 in Rome is now scheduled for next year from June 11 to July 11, in the same 12 host nations.

TENNIS: The French Open was postponed for about four months because of the coronavirus pandemic, juggling the tennis calendar by shifting from May to September.

The French tennis federation said it will hold its 15-day clay-court event at Roland Garros in Paris from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, instead of May 24 to June 7, “to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in organizing the tournament.”

This is the first instance of a Grand Slam tournament being affected by the virus. The next major tennis championship on the calendar is Wimbledon, which is to start in late June in England.

The French Open’s new dates place it right after the hard-court U.S. Open is currently scheduled to be held in New York, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. Having one week between two major championships, played on different surfaces, would be unusually short.

GOLF: The PGA Championship is being postponed, a person involved in the discussions told The Associated Press. It was scheduled for May 14-17 at Harding Park in San Francisco.

It follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that events of 50 people or more not be held for eight weeks. That would last until the Sunday before the PGA Championship.

San Francisco now is among six counties in the Bay Area where residents are ordered to venture outside only when necessary for the next three weeks.

There was no indication when the PGA Championship would be played, or if it would remain in San Francisco.

AUTO RACING: NASCAR plans to reschedule the seven Cup Series races already postponed due to the pandemic. Figuring out how to cram the events and the All-Star race into the crowded 36-race schedule could be difficult.

NASCAR has already postponed its season until May 9 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. IndyCar suspended its start to the season through the end of April last week, while Formula One has postponed or canceled several events, including last weekend’s opener in Australia.

BOWLING: The Professional Bowlers Association has placed all tournament activities at all levels on hiatus indefinitely due to coronavirus concerns, including the 2020 PBA Playoffs, which were scheduled to start on April 6.

The announcement means all PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour and PBA Regional tournaments currently scheduled will be paused and re-evaluated in early April.

The PBA has a tournament scheduled July 19-23 in Portland at Bayside Bowl, which is also currently closed due to the coronavirus.

In addition to PBA’s decision, the United States Bowling Congress indefinitely postponed the USBC Masters that was scheduled for March 23-29, as well as the start of the 2020 USBC Open Championships, a traditional tournament for all USBC members including a number of PBA members who planned to participate.


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