Written by Ben the Pen
Tough times call for unorthodox measures. The pinnacle of horse racing is the Triple Crown, but the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness were postponed and won't go off until September and October.
The Belmont Stakes is usually the third leg of the Triple Crown, going three weeks after the Preakness at Pimlico. But this season, it will be the first jewel, now that the Derby will be moved to Sept. at Churchill and the Preakness to Oct. 3.
The Belmont is also usually the longest race of the Triple Crown, going a mile and half, which has taken place since 1926. However, the June 20 race will be contested at a mile and an eighth.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just announced over the weekend that the state will be taking another step to reopening its economy by allowing Watkins Glen International auto racing and horse racing tracks to reopen in June. Cuomo said that racetracks can re-open June 1 without fans in attendance. The tracks in New York have been closed since May 15. The NYRA is expected to announce a date for the opening of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park and a full stakes schedule shortly.
New York horse racing has been shutdown since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the state in March. The race was originally scheduled for June 6.
The race will be run without fans and there will be a reduction of last year's purse of $1.5 million. The race will now kick off a series of spring classics that will now span 15 weeks from the spring to the fall.
"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 David O'Rourke on Bloodhorse.com. "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."
The race will be broadcast on NBC Sports during a three-hour program that will begin at 3pmET.
Now the big question will be which horses will run in the Belmont? The winner of the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) was Tiz the Law out of Sackatoga Stable partnership. He's a possibility along with a Bob Baffert horse, which could be the undefeated Charlatan.