By Emily Shields
The 2020 Belmont Stakes will be run June 20 at Belmont Park in New York. The Test of the Champion has been shortened from 1 ½ miles to 1 1/8 miles, owing to the fact that none of the current sophomore crop has yet to run over 1 ¼ miles to date. The purse was also cut from $1.5 million to $1 million, and will be run without fans in the stands.
The decision was met with both praise and protest. The Belmont Stakes (G1) has been run over a mile and a half since 1926, but there has been talk of shortening it for years. Historically, the Belmont has been run at several other distances, including 1 1/8 miles, 1 3/8 miles, 1 ¼ miles, and 1 5/8 miles.
A 1 1/8-mile Belmont Stakes means it will be run around one turn, rather than two. Some of the horses pointing for the race are Florida Derby (G1) hero Tiz the Law and Bob Baffert’s unbeaten pair of Nadal and Charlatan. Trainer Todd Pletcher may run as many as three horses.
The Belmont Stakes will offer qualifying points to the 2020 Kentucky Derby to the tune of 150 – 60 – 30 – 15.
Several stakes races have been cut from Belmont’s meet, which was truncated due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Man o’ War, Mother Goose, Peter Pan, Dwyer, and Brooklyn Stakes are among the races not scheduled for the meet, while the rich Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks (G1) are likely to resurface later this season. Racing at Belmont is slated to begin June 3.
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