Saturday afternoon, horse racing's Triple Crown officially begins with the Belmont Stakes. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of all three events, but fans expressed considerable excitement about the long-awaited return. Here's how to watch the first leg of the American Triple Crown.
Coverage for the Belmont Stakes begins on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. ET. NBC will provide the coverage, lasting from 2:45-6 p.m. ET. Post time for the Belmont Stakes is approximately 5:42 p.m. ET. Viewers can also stream the entire event on NBC Sports' website or the NBC Sports app. Both options require logging in with pay-TV credentials from a cable or satellite company. Sling TV, Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV and AT&T TV Now also have access to NBC in some areas.
The race takes place at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The 2020 iteration will feature a significant change in that the competition is only nine furlongs instead of the standard 12. The reason for this decision was to account for the schedule adjustments on the Triple Crown properly.
Of the three famous races, the Belmont Stakes is the oldest. It first began in 1867 and has continued since, with the exception of 1911 and 1912. This race, the fourth oldest in America, has always taken place in or around New York City. The Belmont Stakes previously took place at Jerome Park, Morris Park and Aqueduct.
The Kentucky Derby was the first race to move due to the coronavirus pandemic. The traditional first leg of the Triple Crown was set for early May but moved to Sept. 5. Under the standard format, this would have put the Preakness Stakes on Sept. 19. and the Belmont Stakes on Oct. 10, although this order remained up in the air due to the ongoing health and safety concerns around the country.
"As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend American life, decisions about large-scale public events must prioritize public health and safety above all else," the New York Racing Association said in a statement in May. "NYRA will deliver an announcement only when that process has concluded to the satisfaction of state and local health departments. The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution with a wide-reaching economic impact. We look forward to its 152nd edition in 2020."
While the Belmont Stakes takes place on Saturday, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes are both set for the fall. The Kentucky Derby remains scheduled for Sept. 5 while the Preakness Stakes is set for Oct. 3. NBC and NBC Sports will provide coverage for both events.