The 2020 sports calendar has been turned upside down to say the least. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Triple Crown, which would have normally been through the first two legs by now, has been completely changed this year. The Kentucky Derby has been moved to September 5th while the Preakness has been announced for October 3rd. For the first time ever, the Belmont Stakes, normally the final race of the Triple Crown, will now actually be the first to take place.
Originally, they had considered running it in late October but the challenge is that the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships runs in early November, and the owners and trainers didn’t want to be forced to make a choice. Instead, the Belmont Stakes will now be run on June 20th.
Usually, the Belmont Stakes is known as the “Test of the Champion” because it’s the longest of the three Triple Crown races. The Kentucky Derby is typically one and one-quarter miles long. The Preakness is the shortest of the three at one and three-sixteenth miles and the Belmont Stakes is the longest at one and one-half miles. Since 1990, there have been nine horses that have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown and failed at the Belmont.
However, with the change in order, the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes has been shortened in 2020. It will now be run at a mile and an eighth, making it more of a prep race for the top contenders for the Kentucky Derby.
Early 2020 Belmont Stakes Time, Location and Odds:
Start Time: 3 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: NBC Sports
Location: Belmont Park - Elmont, New York
Early Belmont Stakes Betting Odds
A look at the early Belmont Stakes betting odds shows Tiz The Law as the favorite at odds of +175. Tiz the Law has a home-field advantage after previously winning the Grade 1 Champagne at a distance of a mile at Belmont Park last October.
Tiz The Law has won four of his first five career starts and comes into the Belmont Stakes on a two-race winning streak with wins at the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) and the Florida Derby (G1).
Charlatan (3/1), who is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, has won all three of his starts, including taking down the first division of the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his most recent outing in early May. However, his status is up in the air with reports that he tested positive for a banned substance in Arkansas. It is uncertain how the positive test will affect his eligibility for the Belmont Stakes.
Louis Cella, the owner and president of Oaklawn Park, was adamant that the results of any additional tests would be known with a definitive answer prior to the Belmont. “We will not have a situation like in California, where a horse ran in the Kentucky Derby after failing a drug test,” referring to a test allegedly failed by Justify, the 2018 Triple Crown winner. “That was an embarrassment to the industry. We will push to have this cleared up by the Belmont Stakes.”
Meanwhile, Nadal who is also trained by Baffert, is a three-year-old colt and had won all four of his career starts, including the Division 2 of the Arkansas Derby (G1) as well as the Rebel Stakes (G2) and the San Vicente Stakes (G2), saw his career tragically cut short. One of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby was retired with a left front lateral condylar fracture after suffering the injury during a workout on Thursday at Santa Anita Park.
Nadal was the leading point earner on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with 150 points and sat atop the latest National Thoroughbred Racing Association Top 3-Year-Old Poll. With the unexpected news regarding both of Baffert's top contenders, more owners may now be tempted to jump into the field. According to the conditions of the race, up to 16 horses can run in the Belmont Stakes.
Some longshots that jump off the page are Dr Post at odds of 10/1, who showed maturity and the ability to overcome adversity in the Unbridled Stakes on April 25 at Gulfstream Park. My bomb play is Todd Pletcher’s Modernist at odds of 28/1. He is one horse who really intrigues me, as I believe he has so much room for improvement. Sign me up for any offspring of Uncle Mo who would enhance all exotic payouts.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Del Mar Racetrack announced that they will cut back its race days to only three days a week—eight days earlier on July 10. There will be no spectators allowed at the track famously known as “Where The Turf Meets The Surf” in San Diego.
The new schedule will still have about the same number of races as last year. The track will run 10 races on Friday and Sunday and 11 on Saturday. There will be a bonus day of racing on Labor Day. The track was originally scheduled to race five days a week.
The track is expected to lose $17 million from food and beverage, tickets, merchandise and parking. In a trickle down, many will lose their jobs as the daily staff will be cut from about 1,100 to less than 300.
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