Belmont Stakes to Be Held June 20, Will Be 1st Leg of 2020 Triple Crown

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2020

Sir Winston (7), with jockey Joel Rosario up, crosses the finish line to win the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 8, 2019, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The New York Racing Association announced Tuesday the 2020 Belmont Stakes will be held June 20 without fans, and it will be the first leg of a reconfigured Triple Crown. 

It is the first time the Belmont has served as the first race in the Triple Crown in its 152-year history. 

NYRA President and CEO Dave O'Rourke issued a statement:

"The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution that will provide world-class entertainment for sports fans during these challenging times. 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 Kentucky Derby has been rescheduled to Sept. 5, and the Preakness Stakes will take place Oct. 3. Neither race has announced whether it plans to have fans in attendance.

The 1.5-mile Belmont is typically the challenging end of a six-week stretch of racing that pushes horses and their jockeys to their physical limits. The 2020 Belmont will be raced at 1 1/8 miles, an unprecedented change to the event. Given the unlikelihood of the Kentucky Derby or Preakness changing their mileage, there may be not be as big a test of endurance in the 2020 Triple Crown season.

Given the extended breaks after each race as well, this could be a perfect setup for an elite sprinter to capture all three races.

Belmont plans to open June 3 for 25 straight days of racing.