The Belmont Stakes will have a new look this year, as they are run at a later date, and without a crowd for the first time in history.
The 152nd running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes will be held on Saturday, June 20 at Belmont Park with fans staying home due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The race will be aired live on NBC and is expected to draw massive ratings for the network, as the nation is starved for sport and entertainment options due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Coverage for the Belmont Stakes will kick off at 3 p.m. on June 20.
“June Saturdays at Belmont Park always offer terrific racing,” Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports & NBCSN said in a statement. “We’re excited to return on June 20 with a three-hour broadcast featuring the 152nd Belmont Stakes.”
The Belmont Stakes is traditionally the final leg of the Triple Crown, and is contested at 1.5-miles. This year’s race will be slightly shorter to account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series and overall calendar for 3-year-olds in training, officials said.
According to the New York Racing Association (NYRA), the latest change in schedule comes after the Kentucky Derby was moved from Saturday, May 2 to Saturday, Sept. 5, and the Preakness Stakes from Saturday, May 16 to Saturday, Oct. 3.
“The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution that will provide world-class entertainment for sports fans during these challenging times,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke stated. “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.
He added: “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.”
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