SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico -- Just 3 days after an announcement that the race would run without fans, the 2020 Sunland Derby has officially been canceled and the entire Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino will shut down for three weeks.
Per the recommendation of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham, the Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino will cease operations for the next three weeks, beginning on Monday at 1 a.m.
The announcement also means that the March 22nd Derby will not race.
Sunland Racetrack general manager Rick Baugh cited the need to align with the rest of the community in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
"We're falling line with the school systems," Baugh told the El Paso Times. "The reason for this: the governor wants to get ahead of the curve and reduce the bell curve. She wants to make sure we don't end up in a situation similar to California and New York."
There were 13 confirmed cases of the vius in New Mexico, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, as of Sunday.
The Sunland Derby is a key prep race for the Kentucky Derby each year, with the top finishers earning key points for the Kentucky Derby post.
There has yet to be an announcement made on the Kentucky Derby's status.