The New York Racing Association today announced the 152nd renewal of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes, to be contested at 9 furlongs, will take place Saturday, June 20 at Belmont Park as the opening leg of the Triple Crown for the first time in history. To align with required health and safety measures implemented in New York to mitigate risk and combat the spread of Covic-19, the Belmont Stakes will be held without spectators in attendance. In addition, NYRA announced that live racing, to be conducted without spectators, will return Wednesday, June 3, at Belmont Park.
"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."
As the exclusive broadcast partner of the Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown, NBC Sports will present three hours of live coverage from Belmont Park on Saturday, June 20 beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern.
"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."
Traditionally contested at 1 1/2 miles and held as the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes will be run at a distance of 1 1/8 miles to properly account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series and overall calendar for 3-year-olds in training.
The revised date and distance for the Belmont Stakes follows the previously announced rescheduling of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, from Saturday, May 2 to Saturday, September 5 as well as the rescheduling of the Preakness Stakes from May 16 to October 3.
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.
All Belmont Stakes Racing Festival tickets are subject to full refunds. Fans 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 BSRF tickets through Ticketmaster will receive an email directing them to log in to their Ticketmaster account to request a refund or credit.
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Following the five-day opening week starting June 3, live racing throughout the 25-day Belmont spring/summer meet will be conducted Thursday through Sunday, with a first post time of 1:15 p.m. Eastern. The spring/summer meet will conclude Sunday, July 12.
A condensed stakes schedule for the spring/summer meet will feature 40 total stakes races worth $7 million, including 22 graded stakes, beginning on Opening Day with the Grade 3, $100,000 Beaugay at 1 1/16-miles on the turf for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up.
The 152nd renewal of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 20, as the first leg of the Triple Crown series, a historic first for the crown jewel of thoroughbred racing. Traditionally run at 1 1/2-miles, this year's edition of the Belmont Stakes will be contested at 9 furlongs and broadcast live on NBC, the exclusive broadcast partner of the Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown.
"The resumption of live racing at Belmont Park on June 3, with all appropriate health and safety protocols in place, will support the hundreds of small businesses, family-owned farms and thousands of hourly workers who form the backbone of thoroughbred racing in New York," said NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke. "The return of live sports, especially New York institutions like the Belmont Stakes, is a welcome sign of progress that will bring some sense of normalcy back to our everyday lives."
The Belmont spring/summer meet, originally scheduled for 51 days from April 24 through July 12, will offer at least one stakes race each day and is bolstered by nine Grade 1 races and four Breeders' Cup Win & You're In qualifiers.
Absent from the stakes schedule are the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational and the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, the opening legs of the Turf Triple Series implemented by NYRA last year as the turf equivalent of the Triple Crown series. The Turf Triple Series will be run in 2020 and an announcement regarding dates will be made in the coming weeks.
Ten $80,000 overnight stakes races, along with eight stakes restricted to New York-bred horses worth a combined $800,000, will support local horsemen as part of a condition book to be available later today.
NYRA has made necessary adjustments to the purse structure to account for the absence of VLT monies as a result of continued statewide casino closures.
"Without the casino operating and without on-track attendance, we've had to make significant purse cuts. The purse cuts to the stakes schedule are much more dramatic than the overnight schedule and we've tried to help the everyday horsemen as much as possible through these trying times by writing a rich and varied condition book, offering a daily opportunity for black type, that will support horsemen at all levels of the game," said Martin Panza, NYRA's Senior Vice President of Racing Operations.
The Grade 1, $250,000 Runhappy Carter Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and upward originally scheduled for April 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack, will kick off the first of five consecutive Saturdays of Grade 1 races at Belmont Park. The Carter will replace the Grade 2 John A. Nerud as a qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
The lucrative June 6 card will also include the Grade 2, $150,000 Fort Marcy at 1 1/8-miles on the turf for older horses; the Grade 3, $100,000 Westchester at 1 1/16-miles for 4-year-olds and up; and the Grade 3, $100,000 Intercontinental, a seven-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up.
On Saturday, June 13, the Grade 1, $300,000 Ogden Phipps for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16-miles on the main track will offer a berth to the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
Belmont Stakes Day June 20 will feature six graded races including four Grade 1 events led by the historic Belmont Stakes, which will offer 150-60-30-15 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers.
Rounding out the Grade 1 entertainment on Belmont Stakes Day are the $300,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies going one mile; the $250,000 Woody Stephens presented by Claiborne Farm, a seven-furlong sprint over Big Sandy for 3-year-olds; and the $250,000 Jaipur, presented by America's Best Racing, for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs on turf, which offers a berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. A pair of one-mile turf races for sophomores, previously contested at nine furlongs, completes a stakes-laden card with the Grade 2, $150,000 Pennine Ridge and the Grade 3, $150,000 Wonder Again for fillies.
The Grade 1 action continues at beautiful Belmont Park on Saturday, June 27, with four graded events led by the Grade 1 $300,000 Just a Game for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at one mile on the turf. The card is bolstered by the Grade 2, $250,000 New York at 10 furlongs on the turf for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up; the Grade 2, $150,000 True North, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and up; and the Grade 3, $100,000 Vagrancy, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.
The one-mile Grade 1, $500,000 Runhappy Metropolitan now open to 3-year-olds and up, offers a berth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, to headline an Independence Day card offering five graded stakes on Saturday, July 4. Also featured is the Grade 1, $400,000 Manhattan for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/4-miles on turf; the Grade 2, $200,000 Suburban, a 10-furlong test for 4-year-olds and upward; the Grade 3, $150,000 Poker, a one-mile turf test for older horses; and the Grade 3, $100,000 Victory Ride, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies.
Closing weekend of the Belmont spring/summer meet will include the Grade 2, $150,000 Ruffian at one mile for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up on Saturday, July 11 and the $80,000 River Memories, a 1 1/2-mile stamina test on the turf for older fillies and mares, on Sunday, July 12, before live racing shifts to Saratoga Race Course for the 40-day summer meet scheduled to run from Thursday, July 16 through Labor Day, September 7.