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Shortened Belmont Stakes 2020 will run June 20 at 1 1/8-miles

Martin Panza from the New York Racing Association shares the thought process behind the Belmont Stakes' historic move to the front of the Triple Crown schedule, the shortened distance and more.

The 2020 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York has been postponed by two weeks from Saturday, June 6 to Saturday, June 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s edition of the race will be 1 1/8-miles (9 furlongs) instead of its traditional 1 1/2-miles. There will be no spectators.

“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 New York Racing Association said in a statement.

NBC Sports will broadcast the 152nd Belmont Stakes on June 20 from 2:45-6 p.m. ET on NBC, and the NBC Sports app.

The Belmont is now the first race in the Triple Crown this year. On March 17, the Kentucky Derby was moved from May 2 to September 5, marking only the third time in history that the race hasn’t been run during the month of May.

“We believe that moving our iconic event to Labor Day Weekend this year will enable our country to have time to contain the spread of coronavirus,” Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen said. “This will also provide our guests more time to reschedule their travel and hotel arrangements so they can attend.”

The Preakness was moved from May 16 to October 3, making it the final leg of this year’s Triple Crown.

Traditionally, the Belmont was the longest of the Triple Crown races and has been run at 1 1/2-miles since 1926. The Belmont is usually the final leg of the Triple Crown, following the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. The order of the Triple Crown races used to vary before 1931, but this is the first time that the Belmont will be the first race in the series.



Watch the 2020 Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 20 from 2:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET on NBC, and the NBC Sports app.