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Next two Belmont Stakes might be held at Saratoga

Jun 20, 2020; Elmont, New York, USA; General view of the grounds outside the grandstand at Belmont Park before the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With Belmont Park undergoing a renovation, the next two runnings of the Belmont Stakes might be shifted to Saratoga Race Course.

The New York Racing Association could move the event from Belmont in Elmont, N.Y., less than 20 miles from midtown Manhattan, to Saratoga Springs, more than 180 miles to the north.

“If things go according to how we’re planning, right now that is the plan,” Dave O’Rourke, NYRA president and CEO, told the Daily Racing Form. “Ideally, the ’26 Belmont Stakes will be at Belmont. The building might not be completely fitted out, but the tracks will be way ahead of schedule.”

Discussions of pausing construction at Belmont to host the third leg of the Triple Crown next year have been dismissed.

O’Rourke told the Daily Racing Form that moving elsewhere for two years “allows the tracks to get done quicker and allows the grass a lot of time to take hold. From a surfaces position, we’ll be in a great spot.”

Due to the track length at Saratoga, the Belmont Stakes likely would be scaled down from its standard 1 1/2 miles to 1 1/4 miles. The date of the 2024 race, June 8, is not expected to be changed, Patrick McKenna, NYRA’s vice president of communications said, according to Newsday.

The Belmont Stakes was raced at Belmont Park from 1905-10, 1913-62 and 1968-2023. The 1963-67 races were held at Aqueduct in New York City.

In this year’s Belmont, Jena Antonucci became the first woman to train a Triple Crown race winner as she saddled Arcangelo.

The NYRA received a $455 loan from the state of New York for the Belmont reconstruction.

–Field Level Media