The horses will be off and running at the Belmont Stakes, after a two-week delay on June 20. But the last leg of the Triple Crown will have the unique position as the first race in 2020 due to the coronavirus postponements.
The Belmont has been second occasionally in years past, but never went first, ESPN reported.
“The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution that will provide world-class entertainment for sports fans during these challenging times,” NYRA president Dave O’Rourke said in a statement.
“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. … Fans across the country can look forward to a day of exceptional thoroughbred racing at a time when entertainment and sports are so important to providing a sense of normalcy.”
The Belmont is traditionally an endurance race for three-year-old thoroughbreds. However, next month’s field will face a shorten 1 1/8 miles, instead of the 1 1/2 miles they’ve run since 1926.
The Kentucky Derby, typically the first leg on first Saturday in May, was rescheduled for September 5. The Preakness Stakes was moved from mid-May to October 3.