FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear At The 2020 Kentucky Derby Without A Mask?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear at the 2020 Kentucky Derby while not wearing a mask.

Verdict: False

The image actually shows Beshear at the 2017 Longines Kentucky Oaks. He did not attend the 2020 Kentucky Derby in person.

Fact Check:

The Kentucky Derby is typically held the first Saturday in May, but it was postponed in March due to coronavirus-related safety concerns, NBC News reported. The 2020 race was held on Sept. 5 with only essential personnel, along with a few spectators who had connections to the racers, allowed in the stands, according to Business Insider.

The image shows Beshear with his wife and two other women wearing extravagant hats customarily worn at the Derby. None of the people pictured are wearing face masks. The caption alleges it shows him at the 2020 Kentucky Derby, saying, “When a tyrant tells you to be safe at home. Yet here he is at the derby no mask.” (RELATED: No, This Viral Image Doesn’t Show Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Tweet About School Closures)

In reality, the photo was taken at the 2017 Longines Kentucky Oaks, a race of 3-year-old female horses that takes place the day before the Derby, according to Louisville newspaper The Voice-Tribune. The image’s caption identifies the women standing with Beshear as Britainy Beshear, Stephanie Renner and Olivia Isaac.

The confusion about the photo appears to have stemmed from Beshear and his wife wearing clothing very similar to those from the 2017 Longines Kentucky Oaks event in photos accompanying posts Beshear tweeted to congratulate the Derby winner. Beshear did not attend the 2020 race in person, telling reporters, “If we’re asking the people of Kentucky to watch it at home, I’m going to watch it at home, too.” He presented the trophy virtually from home, according to ABC affiliate WHAS.

While Beshear expressed support for barring fans from attending the race, per The New York Times, he did not order that measure himself. Churchill Downs, the venue for the Derby, ultimately made the decision to not have spectators in the stands due to increases in coronavirus cases in Louisville, per an August press release from the venue.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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