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Belmont Stakes rescheduled for June 20 without spectators

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The Belmont Stakes has been rescheduled for June 20 and will take place without spectators amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, the New York Racing Association has announced.

In addition, the race at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, will be shortened from its traditional length of 1.5 miles to 1.125 miles. It was originally scheduled for June 6.

It means that the Belmont Stakes, which is traditionally the third leg of US horse racing’s Triple Crown, will be the first leg this year for the first time following the postponements of the Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby.

Its purse has been reduced by a third to $1m, the New York Times has reported. NBC will broadcast the race.

“The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution that will provide world-class entertainment for sports fans during these challenging times,” NYRA president and chief executive Dave O’Rourke said. “While this will certainly be a unique running of this historic race, we are grateful to be able to hold the Belmont Stakes in 2020.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently gave the green light for live sports to return to the state without spectators, including horse racing.