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, NBCSports.com 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, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
NEW YORK — Forte, the early Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched on the day of the race, worked out in preparation for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.
Under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte worked five-eighths of a mile for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. It was the colt’s second workout since being scratched from the Derby on May 6.
“It seems like he’s maintained his fitness level,” Pletcher said. “It seems like everything is in good order.”
Forte was placed on a mandatory 14-day veterinary list after being scratched from the Derby because of a bruised right front foot. In order to be removed from the list, the colt had to work in front of a state veterinarian and give a blood sample afterward, the results of which take five days.
“There’s protocols in place and we had to adhere to those and we’re happy that everything went smoothly,” Pletcher said. “We felt confident the horse was in good order or we wouldn’t have been out there twice in the last six days, but you still want to make sure everything went smoothly and we’re happy everything did go well.”
Pletcher said Kingsbarns, who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby, will miss the Belmont. The colt is showing signs of colic, although he is fine, the trainer said.
Another Pletcher-trained horse, Prove Worthy, is under consideration for the Belmont. He also has Tapit Trice, who finished seventh in the Derby, being pointed toward the Belmont.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge has granted Churchill Downs’ motion for summary judgment that dismisses Bob Baffert’s claim the track breached due process by suspending the Hall of Fame trainer for two years.
Churchill Downs Inc. suspended Baffert in June 2021 after his now-deceased colt, Medina Spirit, failed a postrace drug test after crossing the finish line first in the 147th Kentucky Derby. The trainer’s request to lift the discipline was denied in February, keeping him out of the Derby for a second consecutive May.
U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings ruled in a 12-page opinion issued Wednesday that Churchill Downs’ suspension of Baffert did not devalue his Kentucky trainer’s license. It cited his purse winnings exceeding $1 million at Keeneland in Lexington and stated that his argument “amounts to a false analogy that distorts caselaw.”
Jennings denied CDI’s motion to stay discovery as moot.
The decision comes less than a week after Baffert-trained colt National Treasure won the Preakness in his first Triple Crown race in two years. His record eighth win in the second jewel of the Triple Crown came hours after another of his horses, Havnameltdown, was euthanized following an injury at Pimlico.
Churchill Downs said in a statement that it was pleased with the court’s favorable ruling as in Baffert’s other cases.
It added, “While he may choose to file baseless appeals, this completes the seemingly endless, arduous and unnecessary litigation proceedings instigated by Mr. Baffert.”
Baffert’s suspension is scheduled to end on June 2, but the track’s release noted its right to extend it “and will communicate our decision” at its conclusion.