Are you ready for the 2020 Belmont Stakes on Saturday? Because I’m not. Most years, the Belmont is the culmination of the Triple Crown season. With luck and good running, the nation might be poised on a potential Triple Crown win. Emotions would be running high. This year, I don’t even know which horse are running because, honestly, horse racing has been the last thing on my mind.
This is the first time in its 152-year history that the Belmont Stakes has preceded the Kentucky Derby (which will be run on September 5th) and the Preakness Stakes (which will be held on October 5th). But there are other critical changes, the most significant is that this year the Belmont Stakes will be the shortest of the Triple Crown races, not the longest. Usually, the Belmont race is 12 furlongs (1 1/2 miles), and is a test of endurance. For 2020, the race has been shortened to 9 furlongs (1.125 miles) because the reduced racing calender this spring hasn’t enabled the 3-year olds to build enough stamina.
And then there are the spectators. Or lack of them. In March it was announced that the race would be run without spectators. Today, the New York Racing Association announced today that even the owners will not be allowed inside Belmont Park for Saturday’s $1 million race.
While the Kentucky Derby typically draws a huge field, which thins as the Belmont approaches, the field for Saturday’s race is slim. In fact, despite the light racing season so far, several of the most promising 3-year olds are sidelined with injuries. To run in the Kentucky Derby, horses need to earn points. So far, of the 18 horses that have earned the most points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings, only two seem likely to run in Saturday’s Belmont (the final field will be released Wednesday).
Five of the top 12 horses in the Kentucky Derby standings are injured, the most significant being Nadal, Charlatan, and Maxfield. The current odds for the Belmont are:
- Tiz the Law (3-2)
- Dr Post (9-1)
- Tap It to Win (12-1)
- Sole Volante (14-1)
- Max Player (18-1)
- Modernist (20-1)
- Farmington Road (22-1)
- Basin (25-1)
Let’s look at some of the contenders.
Who are you favoring for the Belmont?