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Belmont Stakes to be held in June at shorter distance

The Belmont Stakes will take place “in the month of June” and be shortened from its traditional length of 1 1/2 miles, Michael Dubb, a member of the New York Racing Association’s board of director says.

Dubb made the announcement on ESPN Audio’s “In The Gate” podcast, which is likely to be posted Wednesday. The race has been run at 1 1/2 miles since 1926.

The Belmont Stakes was originally scheduled for June 6. Dubb did not specify what day in June the race will take place, however. He said the NYRA would announce the date very shortly.

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

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Kentucky Derby, usually the first leg, was rescheduled from May 2 to Sept. 5, while the Preakness Stakes, usually the second leg, was rescheduled from May 16 to Oct. 3.

Belmont Park will reopen during the first week of June. Under New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s guidelines, fans will not be permitted in the stands.

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