Horse racing’s Triple Crown might be run out of order in 2020.
In a standard yr, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes would have already been accomplished. However as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the sports activities calendar, together with the dates for horse racing’s most prestigious races, has been shaken up.
The Belmont Stakes will now be contested because the opening leg of the Triple Crown for the primary time in historical past.
The New York Racing Affiliation introduced Tuesday that the Belmont Stakes, initially scheduled for June 6, will happen on June 20 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.—with out spectators, with the race shortened from 1½ miles to 1 1/eight miles. The Belmont has been run at 1½ miles since 1926.
“Whereas it will definitely be a novel working of this historic race, we’re grateful to have the ability to maintain the Belmont Stakes in 2020,” NYRA president and CEO Dave O’Rourke stated in an announcement.
The purse of the Belmont has been lower from $1.5 million to $1 million.
The announcement of the brand new date for the Belmont Stakes comes after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated racetracks within the state may reopen in June with out followers in attendance.
The Kentucky Derby has already been moved from Might 2 to Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., whereas the Preakness was pushed again from Might 16 to Oct. Three at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
The shake-up of the Triple Crown calendar might be a distinct problem for the trainers of this yr’s crop of 3-year-old contenders. As a substitute of attempting to win three races within the span of 5 weeks, a horse would wish to take care of peak type for 15 weeks.
Simon Bray, a former coach and present analyst on the racing community TVG, says the revamped schedule makes issues simpler.
“Most prime flight horses reply properly to 4 to 6 weeks relaxation and restoration between races. The brand new schedule affords them that,” Bray stated. “The gap change of the Belmont from 1½ miles to 1 1/eight miles makes the problem much less daunting. The [Belmont] distance is what has denied so many potential Triple Crown winners.”
13 horses have swept all three races of the Triple Crown, most just lately accomplished by Justify in 2018.