(Reuters) - The Belmont Stakes, which is the final leg of U.S. thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, will be held at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York next year due to construction at the race's Long Island home, it was announced on Wednesday.
The announcement was made by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, whose Executive Budget earlier this year included a proposal for the New York Racing Association to modernize Belmont Park, including an upgrade to the 117-year-old track.
"As part of the exciting modernization of Belmont Park, Saratoga now adds to its storied history by hosting the third leg of the Triple Crown," said Hochul.
"It's a win for horseracing and for the Capital Region to have the excitement and the ability to host the four-day Festival in June at America's most historic track."
In addition, pending the approval of the North American Graded Stakes Committee, the Belmont Stakes on June 8 will be contested at 1 1/4 miles next year rather than the traditional 1 1/2 miles due to the configuration of Saratoga's main track.
While 2024 will mark the first time the Belmont Stakes unfolds at Saratoga, the race was moved to Aqueduct Racetrack from 1963-1967 when Belmont Park last underwent significant renovations.
Traditionally run at the "Test of the Champion" distance of 1 1/2 miles, the distance has been adjusted throughout history and as recently as 2020 when the Triple Crown was modified because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the 2023 Belmont Stakes, Arcangelo powered away in the home stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths, making Jena Antonucci the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)