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The Latest: Churchill Downs to open stables, race minus fans

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

Churchill Downs will open stables at the track and training center in phases starting May 11 before races are run during its spring meet without spectators.

The historic track postponed the Kentucky Derby last month from May 2 to Sept. 5 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It will mark the first time since 1945 that horse racing’s marquee event will not be run on the first Saturday in May.

The opening of stables closed since Dec. 31 for winter renovations has been delayed several times. The spring meet was scheduled to start last Saturday.

A statement from Churchill Downs said Kentucky state officials approved opening the stables under strict guidelines to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Racing will begin after track officials evaluate its incoming horse population and load-in procedures, and will be free of spectators until government officials approve their return.

The New York Racing Association is seeking to resume live racing at Belmont Park without fans, and it wants to do the same thing this summer at Saratoga Race Course.

NYRA says returning to racing would “provide a small sense of normalcy for fans across the country who can watch on television and online.”

The state has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. There’s been no live racing in New York since March 15, although training has continued at Belmont Park.

NYRA says that by racing without fans, adding more health and safety measures to what’s already in place, and reducing the number of employees on-site, the sport can be safely staged.

NYRA says thoroughbred racing provides $3 billion in annual economic impact and over 19,000 jobs in the state.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has voted unanimously to cancel the induction ceremony due to safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Class of 2020 consisting of Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker will be inducted July 25 of next year alongside any new members elected as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2021. The awards presentation also will recognize the Hall of Fame's 2020 and 2021 winners. This year's honorees include J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Nick Cafardo, Ford C. Frick Award winner Ken Harrelson, and Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner David Montgomery.

Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Forbes Clark says the board took the advice of government officials as well as federal, state and local medical and scientific experts. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan called it a very difficult decision, but with so many unknowns facing the world, he says the board felt strongly it was the right decision.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has declared co-state champions for boys and girls basketball after the title games were canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCHSAA announced the decision Wednesday after a meeting by its board of directors.

Last week the NCHSAA canceled remaining winter championships and spring sports for the 2019-20 season. That followed the announcement from Gov. Roy Cooper that public schools in the state would remain closed for in-person instruction for the rest of the school year.

The basketball championship games were originally scheduled for March 14.

Serena and Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova are scheduled to compete in a video game tennis tournament for charity called the “Stay at Home Slam.”

The IMG agency says Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori are also among the tennis players participating Sunday.

Other competitors include Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, model Gigi Hadid and singer Seal.

Participants will each pick a charity to receive a $25,000 donation. The winner of the tournament will choose who gets an additional $1 million donation.

The event will be streamed on Facebook.

The Madrid Open set up a video game tournament for this week, with Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber among the entrants.

All professional tennis tournaments have been postponed or canceled until at least mid-July.

Switzerland’s federal government says professional sports teams can resume training on May 11, with a view to playing games in empty stadiums four weeks later.

The government is set to make a final decision on May 27 as to whether games can resume in June. That will depend on the coronavirus pandemic. Games will have to be played in empty stadiums because of a federal order banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people through August.

The Swiss top-tier soccer league was paused in February with 13 rounds left. St. Gallen leads defending champion Young Boys on goal difference.

It is still unclear whether the Aug. 20 Diamond League track meet in Lausanne or the European Masters golf tournament at the end of August at Crans-Montana in the heart of the Swiss Alps can be staged.

A leading medical official at UEFA says soccer competitions should be able to resume this season.

Soccer has been brought to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, with some leagues — including France and the Netherlands — canceling their 2019-20 seasons following government orders. FIFA’s medical committee chair has also expressed doubts about completing this season.

Tim Meyer, chairman of UEFA’s medical committee, says all soccer organizations planning for resumptions need to produce “comprehensive protocols dictating sanitary and operational conditions” to ensure the health of those involved in the games is protected.

Meyer says “it is definitely possible to plan the restart of competitions suspended during the 2019-20 season” under these conditions and if local legislation is respected.

Meyer also is chairing the newly established UEFA medical sub group which is examining the health issues surrounding a return to football.

The Women’s PGA Championship has been rescheduled for Oct. 6-11 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The major championship was to be played from June 23-28 at Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania.

The ANA Inspiration and the U.S. Women’s Open are the other U.S.-based majors in the women’s game. They have already been rescheduled.

There are five women’s majors. The Evian Championship and the Women’s British Open are both scheduled for August and have yet to be postponed.

Sebastian Coe says he is “genuinely hoping that the pandemic will have been curtailed” by next year so the Tokyo Olympics can open in July 2021.

Coe is the president of World Athletics. He says “it’s pretty clear though that you couldn’t go on forever postponing an Olympic Games. There comes a point where you do have to start posing questions. I hope we’re a little way off that yet.”

IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last month when the delay was announced that the Tokyo Games would not be held beyond the summer of 2021.

Coe also says he doesn’t “know enough to even speculate about vaccines.”

Japan Medical Association president Yoshitake Yokokura said Tuesday it would be difficult to hold the Olympics unless effective vaccines are developed.

IOC President Thomas Bach says the future of sports after the coronavirus pandemic might mean fewer international events.

Bach cited “financial pressure” on organizers and the need to address climate change and says “we may also have to look more closely into the proliferation of sports events.”

The IOC president cautions in a letter to Olympic officials and athletes worldwide “the current health crisis will lead to a long and deep economic crisis” which will affect sports.

Bach says “governments must include sport in their economic support programs” so it can be part of a worldwide recovery.

The IOC has proposed saving money on staging the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 to help offset the Olympic body’s extra costs of hundreds of millions of dollars because of the postponement.

The Italian sports minister says it is increasingly unlikely the soccer season will resume.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte announced Sunday that professional sports teams can resume training on May 18. That means Serie A could resume playing games in June.

But Vincenzo Spadafora tells Italian television channel LA7 that “resuming training absolutely does not mean resuming the season.”

He adds that he sees “the path to restarting Serie A getting ever narrower” and that if he was among the presidents of soccer teams “I would be thinking about next season.”

The French government called off the season in that country on Tuesday and Spadafora says that could push Italy to do the same.

The Spanish Vuelta cycling race will not start in the Netherlands as originally planned.

This year’s race was set to begin in the Dutch regions of Utrecht and North Brabant but the changes in the cycling calendar because of the coronavirus pandemic forced organizers in the Netherlands to cancel the country’s participation.

Dutch organizers say the project “had been designed as a big summer party” which would not be able to happen because of the changes in the Vuelta’s original dates. They say they “preferred to request the official departure’s cancellation.”

Spanish organizers say they hope to plan a new start in the Netherlands “in the very near future.”

This year’s Vuelta was set to start on Aug. 14. New dates have not been announced.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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