LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. said Thursday it will make a decision later on whether to postpone the 2020 Kentucky Derby in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of today, preparations for the world's biggest horse race on May 2 continue, the company said. 

"With the event still seven weeks away, a decision will be made closer to that date, with respect to postponing the event until later in the year, using the most recent information while working with and seeking guidance from public health experts and authorities," Churchill Downs said. 

Meanwhile, this month's races for the Winter/Spring Meet at Churchill Downs' newly acquired Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. will be held without in-person spectators, including the Jeff Ruby Steaks on Saturday, March 14.

Only "essential staff, horsemen, owners, limited friends and family and media" will be allowed to attend. Daily simulcasting will also be closed through for the entirety of the Winter/Spring Meet at Turfway. 

"Due to the large number of people expected to attend and the density of the crowd these weather conditions would create, the ability to ensure safe social distancing, per recent public health guidelines, would be compromised," Churchill Downs said regarding the Saturday race. "Customers who purchased tickets will receive full refunds."

Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.