Belmont Stakes will be held at Saratoga Raceway in 2024. Triple Crown Finals will be 1-1/4 miles – CDC Gaming Reports


The Belmont is heading to Saratoga for the first time, but it’s certainly not the last.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that the 2024 Belmont Stakes will be run at Saratoga Race Course, with the third leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown moving upstate from Long Island due to a massive renovation of Belmont Park.

The move has been expected for some time since the New York Racing Association unveiled plans for the $455 million Belmont Park project. Construction is expected to continue through 2025, so there’s a good chance the Belmont will be at Saratoga two years in a row.

“This effort will likely take two years,” David O’Rourke, NYRA’s president and CEO, said by phone on Wednesday. “We will do it right, and we will improve it every year.”

Pending approval from the North American Graded Stakes Commission, the Belmont will be run over a distance of 1 1/4 miles, which is shorter than the traditional 1 1/2 mile due to the shape of the dirt track at Saratoga. It was 1 1/8 miles in 2020 when the Belmont kicked off the Triple Crown and the system ran out due to the pandemic.

That Belmont has no fans. It is expected that the number of attendees this time will reach 50,000 people to witness history.

“To be able to raise the Belmont to Saratoga, it has to fit a set of circumstances,” O’Rourke said. “It’s the most historic place in the country. It’s one of the greatest sports venues on the planet, and it’s one of the greatest tourist cities in the country. Everyone is excited.”

The purse will rise from $1.5 million to $2 million and the race will be part of a special four-day run at Saratoga a month before the regular summer meet begins there on July 11.

“It is a win for horse racing and for the Capital Region to have the excitement and ability to host the four-day festival in June at America’s most historic track,” Hochul said in a statement.

Racing in New York currently takes place at the Aqueduct in Queens, which was home to the Triple Crown Final from 1963 to 1967, the last time Belmont Park was renovated.

The race is expected to return to Belmont Park in 2026. Expanding the annual Saratoga meet beyond 40 days is “not in any of our current thinking,” O’Rourke said.

“Something like this is just a unique thing to know that it’s going to happen for a few years out there,” he said. “We’re really trying to program our racing calendar through development. Bringing the Belmont there was an obvious step in some ways, in terms of the potential of the actual event.

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