Typically, the Triple Crown is contested in a five-week stretch starting on the first Saturday in May. Beginning with the Kentucky Derby, the horses battle it out in the Preakness Stakes two weeks later. If a horse wins both races, they would compete for the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes three weeks after that. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Triple Crown schedule is going to look drastically different in 2020.
It’s been revealed by the New York Racing Association that for the first time in Triple Crown history, the Belmont Stakes will be the first leg of the three race series. This came as a result of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo determining that horse racing tracks throughout New York as well as Watkins Glen International could operate without fans starting in June.
Originally scheduled for June 6, the Belmont will be pushed back a couple weeks to June 20 on NBC. Being delayed two weeks is nothing compared to how long the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes will be delayed. The Kentucky Derby is set to be run on September 5 while the Preakness will be held October 3. This means there will be a 105-day gap in between the first and last race instead of 35 days.
That’s going to make things very different this year. The Triple Crown is one of the rarest titles to win. In its 145 years history, the Triple Crown has only been won 13 times. One reason it’s difficult to win is because there isn’t a long period of time to run three races. Not to mention, this year’s version will begin (and not end) with the longest and arguably most difficult race of the three. It’s going to be strange to see the Triple Crown competed like this but, at the risk of sounding like every TV ad, we’re living in extraordinary times. So officials need to be a bit creative in order to have all three races.