Kentucky Derby Will Modify “My Old Kentucky Home” Due to Offensive Lyrics

"My Old Kentucky Home" is considered offensive, and will be changed for this year's Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby sign
General view of the interior of the 146th Kentucky Derby on September 5, 2020 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Despite both the coronavirus pandemic and the protests that have taken place across the country and in Lousiville specifically, the Kentucky Derby will be ran on Saturday night, without fans in the stands. That’s not the only thing that will change this year, as the Derby announced on Friday that it will play the traditional “Old Kentucky Home” beforehand, but with modifications to what are viewers as offensive lyrics.

The Churchill Downs PR Twitter account announced the change, saying that the state song of Kentucky will both be modified lyrically and preceded by a moment of silence and reflection:

This is a big change for the Derby, which has seen the song play unaltered for nearly 100 years. Given that Louisville was where Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police officers earlier this year, the change can be seen as a nod to the current protests against racial injustice that began in earnest after the killing of George Floyd.

The lack of fans in the stands is also a first for the world’s most famous horse race; earlier this summer, Churchill Downs said that they would open the race to spectators in limited quality, before reversing course after it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic was not slowing down. The race had been postponed from its usual date of the first Saturday in May to September in hopes that it could be run with fans in attendance, but that did not happen.

Post time for the race is at 7:01 p.m. on Saturday, and will see heavy favorite Tiz the Law take on 19 other horses after his victory in the Belmont Stakes in June.

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Read the full story at The Washington Post

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