The Belmont Stakes will be held on June 20 over a shorter distance

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The Belmont Stakes will take place on June 20 without spectators and will be shortened from its traditional length of 1½ miles to 1⅛ miles, the New York Racing Association announced on Tuesday.

The Belmont, which is traditionally the third stop on the Triple Crown, will be the first stop this year for the first time. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Belmont has been second in recent years but never first.

The race has been running 1½ miles since 1926.

“The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution that will provide world-class entertainment to sports fans during these difficult times,” NYRA President Dave O’Rourke said in a statement. “While it will certainly be a unique race in this historic race, we are grateful to be able to host the Belmont Stakes in 2020.… Fans across the country can look forward to an exceptional day of thoroughbred racing at some point where entertainment and sports are so important to give a sense of normalcy. “

The Belmont Stakes was originally scheduled for June 6.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Kentucky Derby, generally the first stage, was postponed from May 2 to September 5, while the Preakness Stakes, generally the second stage, were rescheduled from May 16 to October 3.

Belmont Park will reopen during the first week of June. As directed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, fans will not be permitted in the stands.

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