How to watch Belmont Stakes 2020: Start time, TV channel, live stream coverage, full race schedule on NBC today

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For the first time ever, the Belmont Stakes will be the first leg of the American Triple Crown of horse racing. Just as important, here’s how to watch Belmont, for which coverage begins Saturday at 2:45 pm ET on NBC.

Usually the last of the three races, the Belmont Stakes was postponed from Saturday, June 6 to Saturday, June 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The distance was shortened from 1 1/2-miles (12 furlongs) to 1 1/8-miles (9 furlongs) “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.

What is the Belmont Stakes?

The Belmont Stakes is historically the last leg of the American Triple Crown of horse racing. Like the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, it’s a Grade I Thoroughbred stakes races. In a normal year, the Belmont Stakes is 1 1/2 miles, or 12 furlongs, making it the longest race in the Triple Crown.

The Belmont is run on the dirt track (also known as “Big Sandy”) at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It was first raced in 1867, making it the oldest jewel in the Triple Crown (and the fourth oldest race in North America). However, the race wasn’t run in 1911 or 1912, which is why the Kentucky Derby is still the longest continuous sporting event in the country. The Belmont has always been run in or around New York City, having raced at Jerome Park (now closed), Morris Park (also closed) and Aqueduct in addition to Belmont, which is just east of Queens.

RELATED: What to know about the 2020 Belmont Stakes

When is the 2020 Belmont Stakes?

The 152nd Belmont Stakes is on Saturday, June 20. Post time will be at approximately 5:42 p.m. ET on NBC.

Where is the Belmont Stakes? 

The Belmont Stakes is run annually at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Belmont Park is on Long Island just miles away from the borough of Queens, and in a normal year, city dwellers can just hop on the Long Island Rail Road for a day at the races.

RELATED: Belmont Stakes 2020 post positions, early odds

How to watch the 2020 Belmont Stakes?

NBC is home to the 152nd Belmont Stakes, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on TV and NBCSports.com before, during and after the main event. Coverage runs from 2:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. on NBC, just hours after NBC’s coverage of the final day of the Royal Ascot in England. Stream the 2020 Belmont Stakes here.

NBC Sports’ horse racing schedule for Royal Ascot and the 152nd Belmont Stakes: 

  • Tuesday, June 16: Royal Ascot (8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
  • Wednesday, June 17: Royal Ascot (8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
  • Thursday, June 18: Royal Ascot (8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
  • Friday, June 19: Royal Ascot (8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET, NBCSN)
  • Saturday, June 20: Royal Ascot (9 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET, NBC) and 152nd Belmont Stakes (2:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET, NBC)

NBC Sports’ additional Triple Crown coverage: 

  • Saturday, September 5: 146th Kentucky Derby
  • Saturday, October 3: 145th Preakness Stakes

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. 

Irad Ortiz sets single-season record with 77th stakes win

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NEW YORK – Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earned his record 77th single-season North American stakes victory when he guided Dr B to victory in the $200,000 Go for Wand at Aqueduct.

The 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico broke the old mark of 76 set by the late Hall of Fame rider Garrett Gomez in 2007.

“This is great. Amazing feeling,” said Ortiz, Jr., who won the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey from 2018-20. “Gomez did it in 2007 and he was a great rider, one of the best in the game. I’m so happy just to be a part of this. I love this sport.”

Ortiz Jr. won the Belmont Stakes with Mo Donegal in June to go with Breeders’ Cup victories in the Juvenile, Filly & Mare Sprint and Sprint. He also earned nine other Grade 1 wins in New York, including Life Is Good in the Woodward and Whitney and Nest in the Alabama and Coaching Club Oaks. He won riding titles at Belmont’s spring-summer meet and Saratoga’s summer meet.

Ortiz Jr. leads North American riders with 304 overall victories this year. His purse earnings totaled over $35.8 million going into Saturday’s races, which already surpassed his single-season record of $34.1 million in 2019.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”