Set in a city beset by economic strife and social unrest, Saturday’s Kentucky Derby might be the most unique in its illustrious history as the race will be run after a four-month delay and with no fans in attendance.

The Kentucky Derby traditionally kicks off horse racing’s Triple Crown on the first Saturday in May, but a postponement forced by the coronavirus pandemic makes the 2020 Derby the second leg of the trio of races.

Tiz the Law won the Belmont Stakes on June 20. 

The first 145 runnings of the Derby all featured crowds at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, including more than 150,000 people last year. A rise in coronavirus cases eliminated plans for a limited-capacity attendance of 23,000 people in the stands for the 146th Kentucky Derby, and Saturday’s race will now be closed to the public.

Kentucky is averaging 690 diagnosed coronavirus cases per day over the last week, the New York Times reports, nearly a high for the state. On the day of the Belmont Stakes, Kentucky was reporting 171 coronavirus cases per day. 

The decision to keep guests out of Churchill Downs only adds to the devastation that the Louisville economy has faced in recent months. The Derby and two weeks of events before the race are responsible for $400 million in revenue, according to Louisville Tourism, which estimates that about 27,000 jobs are linked to hotels, restaurants and other businesses that rely on the Derby.

“It’s really sad for the hardworking people who live in Louisville,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “This is when they do well. They count on this. I feel for the people that really depend on it for their income.”

Churchill Downs lost $149 million in net revenue earlier this year because the Derby was rescheduled.

Karen Williams, head of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in mid-August that the city had lost $350 million of economic impact over the first five months of the pandemic.

Louisville’s economic troubles have been coupled with the social unrest that has plagued the city. There have been months of protests in Louisville calling for the police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor on March 13 to be arrested.

Taylor was shot during a raid on her apartment, for which police used a “no-knock” warrant. No drugs were found at Taylor’s home.

Multiple arrests were made last week when the activist group Until Freedom organized a march near Churchill Downs. Some organizers said they plan to protest at Saturday’s race.

Despite what might be going on outside of the race track, there will be plenty on the line for those inside Churchill Downs this weekend. A $3 million purse is set to be split among the top finishers of the race.

Country House won the 2019 Kentucky Derby, earning a $1.86 million first-place prize. Tiz the Law’s victory at Belmont in June was worth $535,000.

Nine horses have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in the last 30 years. American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018) both successfully completed the Triple Crown.