One of New York’s iconic athletic venues reopens this month with its signature race returning to its normal calendar position in June. The Belmont Park spring/summer thoroughbred meet kicks off April 22, highlighted by the third and final jewel of the Triple Crown — the 153rd running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes — back to its normal spot on June 5.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic last year, organizers had to rework the Triple Crown schedule, moving the Belmont Stakes to the first spot on June 6. The Kentucky Derby became the second race in the series and was held Sept. 5 and the Preakness (usually the second jewel) moved to the third and final spot on Oct. 3.
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This year’s Derby will be May 1, the Preakness will be May 15, followed by the Belmont in June.
Last year’s Belmont was also cut from its 1½ mile distance to 1 1/8 miles, marking the first time since 1926 the race was not 1½ miles long.
Tiz the Law captured the Belmont by more than three lengths, setting up what many thought would be a Triple Crown run. But Authentic won the Kentucky Derby by 1¼ lengths over Tiz the Law. Swiss Skydiver closed out the Triple Crown races with a victory, becoming the sixth filly to win the Preakness. Authentic finished second.
Eight Grade 1 Races on Belmont Stakes Day
This year’s Belmont Park meet features 59 total stakes races for horse racing bettors, including 11 Grade 1 races, worth $16.95 million in total purses. The three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival (June 3-5) will have 17 total stakes races, highlighted by eight Grade 1 races on Belmont Stakes Day.
The Belmont Stakes Day card will feature the Grade 1, $750,000 Manhattan for 4-year-olds and up going 1 ¼ miles on the turf; the Grade 1, $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies going one mile; the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Just a Game for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at one mile on the turf; the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens in a 7-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds; and the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn, a 1½-mile test for 4-year-olds and up.
Three Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” qualifiers are also on the card featuring the one-mile Grade 1, $1 million Metropolitan for 4-year-olds and up [Dirt Mile]; the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track [Distaff]; and the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs on turf [Turf Sprint].
The 48-day meet concludes July 11.