The Triple Crown picture got slightly clearer when it was announced that the Preakness Stakes will be held on October 3, four weeks after the Kentucky Derby on September 5. All that remains unknown is the date of the Belmont Stakes.
The New York Racing Association got the go-ahead from Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday that it can resume racing as early as June 1 but without spectators. The Belmont was originally scheduled for June 6.
If the Belmont becomes the first Triple Crown race, there is the chance it will be shortened from its usual distance of 1.5 miles. The NYRA said it would have an announcement on the race in the near future.
Traditionally, the Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May, followed two weeks later by the Preakness and the Belmont three weeks after that. The same sequence couldn’t happen this year as it was boxed in by the Breeders’ Cup on November 5-6.
The Santa Anita Derby, a major prep for the Kentucky Derby, has been rescheduled from April 4 to June 6. Other prep races are in the process of being rescheduled or cancelled. The Kentucky Derby announced a new schedule of qualifying races and added in a contingency that if the Preakness and Belmont were held before September 5, they would be worth 150-60-30-15 points for the first to fourth-place finishers.
This will not be the first time the traditional order was upended. The Preakness was run 11 times before the Kentucky Derby before 1932. In 1917 and 1922, they were on the same day.