Belmont Stakes scheduled for June 20; distance now 1 1/8 miles

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: May 19, 2020

The New York Racing Association May 19 said the Grade I, $1 million Belmont Stakes will take place June 20 and be run at 1 1/8 miles rather than 1 1/4 miles.

Earlier, Churchill Downs rescheduled the Grade I Kentucky Derby for Sept. 5, and on May 16 the Maryland Jockey Club announced the Grade I Preakness Stakes will be run Oct. 3. NYRA said it will mark the first time the Belmont Stakes has been the first leg of the Triple Crown.

In keeping with state restrictions on crowds because of coronavirus (COVID-19), no spectators will be permitted at Belmont Park.

“The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution that will provide world-class entertainment for sports fans during these challenging times,” NYRA President and Chief Executive Officer David O’Rourke said in a release. “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.”

NBC Sports will present three hours of live coverage from Belmont June 20 beginning at 3 p.m. EDT.

NYRA said the change in distance for the Belmont Stakes was done “to properly account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series and overall calendar for 3-year-olds in training.”

Belmont Stakes Racing Festival tickets are subject to full refunds, NYRA said. Patrons who purchased directly from the NYRA box office or a NYRA sales representative are asked to complete this web form to request a refund or account credit. Fans who purchased tickets through Ticketmaster will receive an email directing them to log in to their Ticketmaster account to request a refund or credit.

In other news, NYRA said a shortened 25-day spring/summer meet at Belmont will run from June 3-July 12 with the facility closed to only essential personnel. After a five-day first week, racing will be held Thursdays through Sundays.

There will be at least one stakes each racing day, with 40 total stakes set for the meet. Purses have been reduced given the fact the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct, which generates substantial purse revenue for NYRA, has been closed since mid-March.