Horse Racing

Why the 2024 Belmont Stakes is at Saratoga Race Course and not at Belmont Park

Arcangelo (3), with jockey Javier Castellano, wins the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 10, 2023.

Those tuning into the 2024 Belmont Stakes on Saturday will notice a few different things about this year’s race, other than there will be no Triple Crown winner for the sixth straight year.

Also, it’s not being held at Belmont Park, in Elmont, New York, where the “Third Jewel of the Triple Crown” has been mostly held in this current location since 1905, when the race moved from Morris Park Racecourse in Westchester County, New York.

The Belmont Stakes is in its second year on FOX Sports after the network signed an eight-year deal to broadcast the race. Veteran broadcaster Frank Mirahmadi will call the race.

Why the 2024 Belmont Stakes was moved

In December 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the 2024 Belmont Stakes would be at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York, some three hours north of Belmont Park because the racetrack was undergoing a major renovation.

The last time the Belmont Stakes was not held at Belmont Park was in 1967 because of another renovation at the venue. The races from 1963 to 1967 took place at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York.

The renovation, which will cost nearly half a billion dollars, is expected to last through 2025 and be ready for the race in 2026. It includes demolishing the current Belmont Park grandstand and clubhouse, replacing fencing throughout the backstretch, and modernizing the barn area.

The Belmont Stakes purse will increase from $1.5 million to $2 million, and the track length will be shortened from 1 1/2 miles to 1 1/4 miles because of the track shape. In past years, the Belmont Stakes crowd has topped out at over 100,000 spectators. Saturday’s race at Saratoga is expected to entertain approximately 50,000.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Belmont Stakes 2024: Why the horse race is at Saratoga Race Course

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