Preakness Stakes Moved To Oct. 3, Belmont Stakes Still Up In Air
The 145th Preakness Stakes will be run Oct. 3, marking the "first time since the end of World War II that Maryland’s most attended annual sporting event will be held outside May," according to Childs Walker of the BALTIMORE SUN. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and 1/ST Chair & President Belinda Stronach on Saturday announced the new date "during an NBC broadcast about an hour before the originally scheduled post time for the Preakness." Hogan originally said that he "hoped to find a new date in September, but that proved incompatible with NBC’s broadcast schedule, which also has been scrambled by the virus." NYRA has "yet to announce plans for a postponed Belmont Stakes, currently still on the calendar for June 6. NBC analyst Randy Moss said that he "anticipates that all three Triple Crown races will be run in front of empty grandstands," based on current conditions. Moss: “Maybe when we get to the first Saturday in September, things will have improved enough to where some fans will be at Churchill Downs. But there’s also a possibility that when we get to the first Saturday in September, things will have regressed badly enough to the point there wouldn’t be a Kentucky Derby at all. All possibilities right now are on the table" (BALTIMORE SUN. 5/17).
FEELING NORMAL: The AP's David Ginsburg noted the Oct. 3 makeup date "could keep the Preakness as the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, depending on the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes." When the Preakness goes off in October, "health concerns will dictate the protocol for fans in the grandstand" (AP, 5/16). New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday said that the state "would allow horse racing tracks and the Watkins Glen International auto racing track to open without fans on June 1, opening the door for televised events at those venues." Cuomo listed "several horse racing tracks, including Belmont Park on Long Island, as being eligible for reopening in June. Watkins Glen Int'l was set to host a NASCAR race in August before the pandemic arrived" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/17).