Racing

Belmont Stakes gets June 20 date

The Belmont Stakes on June 20 - which will be held without spectators amid the Covid-19 pandemic - will become the first leg of the US Triple Crown.

The race, which will be held two weeks later than originally scheduled, has traditionally been the longest race of the Triple Crown series. But it will be run over 1,800m, instead of 2,400m, this year. The horses would have built up stamina by the third leg of the Triple Crown.

The Kentucky Derby has been rescheduled to Sept 5, from May 2, and the Preakness Stakes to Oct 3, from May 16.

"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," New York Racing Association president, Dave O'Rourke, said in a statement. "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."

Traditionally, the Belmont Stakes is widely known as the "Test of the Champion" and has showcased many of history's greatest thoroughbreds.

Two of those Triple Crown triumphs have come in the last five years, with American Pharoah ending a 37-year Triple Crown drought in 2015 and Justify winning all three races in 2018 to retire with an undefeated six-for-six record. - REUTERS

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