Typically the third jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, the $1 million Belmont Stakes will be run on Saturday, June 20 and will be the first of the three classic races for three-year-olds this year.
In addition to the date change, there will be a distance switch. The race will be contested at 1 1/8 miles instead of the traditional distance of 1 1/2 miles. The race traditionally is the longest of the series, but in this year of the pandemic it will now be the shortest as well as the first.
Belmont Stakes Day will be conducted with no fans in attendance.
Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the NYRA the green light to start racing as early as June 1. The Belmont Park meeting is expected to start several days later.
The Kentucky Derby has been moved from the first Saturday of May until Saturday, Sept. 5. The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico has been rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3.
“The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution that will provide world-class entertainment for sports fans during these challenging times,” said NYRA President & CEO Dave O’Rourke. “While this will certainly be a unique running of this historic race, we are grateful to be able to hold the Belmont Stakes in 2020. Thanks to our partners at NBC Sports, fans across the country can look forward to a day of exceptional thoroughbred racing at a time when entertainment and sports are so important to providing a sense of normalcy.”
Check out BUSR for the latest Triple Crown odds.
NBC Will Cover Triple Crown Races
NBC Sports will present three hours of live coverage from Belmont Park on Saturday, June 20 beginning at 3:00 ET.
“June Saturdays at Belmont Park always offer terrific racing,” said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports & NBCSN. “We’re excited to return on June 20 with a three-hour broadcast featuring the 152nd Belmont Stakes.”
Initially contested at a distance of 1 5/8-miles at Jerome Park, the first Belmont Stakes was won by Hall of Fame filly Ruthless in 1867. For a two-year period in 1893-94, the Belmont Stakes was run at nine furlongs at Morris Park Racecourse with Comanche winning in 1893 and Hall of Famer Henry of Navarre victorious a year later. The 1 1/2-miles distance was established in 1926.
Two of those Triple Crown triumphs have come in the last five years, with American Pharoah ending a 37-year Triple Crown drought in 2015 and Justify capping a perfect 6-for-6 career with a Triple Crown-clinching effort in 2018.