After the 146th running of The Kentucky Derby was moved from the first Saturday in May to this Saturday, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Quad City Arts has made the difficult decision to cancel its first “Run for the Roses” Derby fundraiser at Crow Valley Golf Club in Davenport.

The regional nonprofit group planned to offer live jazz, signature cocktails, wine, and beer, raffles, live auction, gourmet food and prizes for best hat and bow tie, in addition to watching the Triple Crown horse race.

Safety precautions were to be taken, including social distancing of tables, capacity limited to 50 percent, servers wearing masks, and complimentary hand sanitizers and masks available to all attendees.

Quad City Arts has pushed back its first Derby party until May 1, 2021.

“The more we started dealing with the event, we realized it wasn’t going to work out,” Quad City Arts executive director Kevin Maynard said Wednesday, noting marketing director Karie Gilson came up with the benefit idea.

“A lot of musicians aren’t willing to play parties indoors, and when we tried to do it outside, we found we’d have even less room,” he said. “At the end of the day, we opted to essentially cancel it and do it next May.”

The plan is to hold a similar Derby party at Crow Valley on May 1, 2021, Maynard said.

Last month, the decision was made to run the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday without fans in attendance, broadcast at 6 p.m. on NBC. Churchill Downs, Inc. issued the following statement: 

“The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together. However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern. Churchill Downs has worked diligently over the last several months to plan a safe Derby with a limited number of spectators in attendance.

Kevin Maynard

The Run For The Roses Derby Party logo.

“We were confident in that plan, but dedicated to remaining flexible using the best and most reliable information available. With the current significant increases in Covid-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning,” they said. “We have made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans. Churchill Downs and all of our team members feel strongly that it is our collective responsibility as citizens of Louisville to do all we responsibly can to protect the health, safety and security of our community in these challenging times and believe that running the Derby without spectators is the best way to do that. We deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans.”

Iowa now has the highest rate in the nation of Covid-19 cases per capita. In the latest report published Sunday, the federal coronavirus task force said Iowa’s rate of 232 new cases per 100,000 population in the last week is nearly triple the national average of 88 per 100,000.

As of Wednesday in Iowa, there have been an average of 1,177 cases per day, an increase of 124 percent from the average two weeks earlier. There have been at least 66,139 cases and 1,125 deaths in Iowa since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database.

In Scott County, there are now a total of 2,253 positive Covid cases, and 21 deaths due to the virus. For more information on the Derby, visit


Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.