ELMONT, N.Y.--The New York Racing Association announced the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park will begin without fans June 3, bringing live racing back to the state for the first time since March 15.
According to a May 19 press release, Belmont Park will be open for five days of racing during that initial week, on Wednesday through Sunday, with a 1:15 p.m. first race post time before shifting to a four-day, Thursday through Sunday, schedule for the remainder of the meet, which ends July 12.
NYRA also announced the 152nd renewal of the G1, $1 million Belmont Stakes, to be contested at nine furlongs, will take place on 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 COVID-19, the Belmont Stakes will be held without spectators in attendance.
"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 G1 Kentucky Derby, from Saturday, May 2 to Saturday, Sept. 5 as well as the rescheduling of the Preakness Stakes from May 16 to Oct. 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 (BSRF) tickets are subject to full refunds.
Fans who purchased directly from the NYRA Box Office or a NYRA sales representative are asked to complete a 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.
NYRA Bets is the official online wagering site for the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes, and the best way to bet the 2020 Belmont Park spring/summer meet.
Available to customers across the United States, NYRA Bets allows horseplayers to watch and wager on racing from tracks around the world at any time.
The NYRA Bets app is available for download for iOS and Android at NYRABets.com.
For more information, please visit BelmontStakes.com.
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 June 3 with the G3, $100,000 Beaugay at 1 1/16-miles on the turf for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up.
"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 & 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 G1 races and four Breeders' Cup Win & You're In qualifiers.