Churchill Down's Racetrack will continue its tradition of playing "My Old Kentucky Home" at the start of the Kentucky Derby despite criticism of the song about American slavery.

But the performance of the tune, which is also Kentucky's state song, will be different on Saturday than in previous years, Churchill Downs said.

"Ordinarily, the moment would be singing along to fans. This year it will only be instrumental, preceded by a moment of silence and reflection," Tonya Abeln, vice president of communications for the Churchill Downs Foundation, told NBC News in an email on Saturday.

The Kentucky Derby, one of the most-watched sporting events in the US, averaging 15 million TV viewers a year, will take place on Saturday with no fans in attendance after it was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. (NBC televs the derby every year.)

The song is played by Steve Buttleman instead of the University of Louisville marching band as usual.

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