The New York Racing Association (NYRA) said on Tuesday that the Belmont Stakes will be run on June 20 without spectators amid the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time the race will be the opening leg of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. NYRA President Dave O’Rourke said in a statement: “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. 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.”
The race, which will be held two weeks later than originally scheduled, has traditionally been the longest race of the Triple Crown series. However this year, the race will be shortened to 1-1/8 miles from 1-1/2 miles to account for 3-year-old thoroughbreds in training, who would usually have built up their endurance by the third leg of the triple crown.
The new date for the Belmont Stakes follows the previously announced rescheduling of the Kentucky Derby to Sept. 5 from May 2 and the Preakness Stakes to Oct. 3 from May 16.As the traditional third leg of racing’s Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes is widely known as the “Test of the Champion” and has showcased many of history’s greatest thoroughbreds.
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