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Belmont Stakes to be held June 20 — without fans

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The New York Racing Association announced on Tuesday that the 152nd running of the Belmont States at Belmont Park will be on June 20 – making the Belmont Stakes the first leg of the Triple Crown for the first time ever.

As CBS New York reports, the race will be held without fans in attendance in accordance with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's statements this past weekend that the state's horse racing tracks could open in the first week of June with no fans present.

In addition to the change in date, the race will be contested at a different distance. Traditionally the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1.5 miles, this year's race has been shortened to 1 and 1/8 miles in order to account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series.

"The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution that will provide world-class entertainment for sports fans during these challenging times," said NYRA President & CEO Dave O'Rourke 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. Thanks to our partners at NBC Sports, 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."

With the Belmont Stakes date now locked in, all three Triple Crown races have their new dates. The Belmont will be followed by the 146th Kentucky Derby on September 5 and the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes on October 3.

Belmont Stakes
Intrepid Heart #8 with John Velazquez up runs during the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, 2019, in Elmont, New York. Getty
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