The Belmont Stakes returns to early June and closes out a dramatic 2021 Triple Crown, only on NBC Sports.
The 153rd Belmont Stakes airs on Saturday, June 5 from 3-5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5-7 p.m. on NBC. Coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app. NBC Sports will also broadcast from Belmont Park on Friday, June 4 from 5-6 p.m. ET with live racing, insider previews and expert betting tips.
What started as a much-anticipated return to normal on the First Saturday in May turned into controversy when, eight days after the 147th Kentucky Derby, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert announced his Derby winner Medina Spirit had failed a post-race drug test. The Florida-born colt tested positive for 21 picograms of the steroid betamethasone, which was later revealed to be from a topical ointment called Otomax used to treat dermatitis on his hind end.
Churchill Downs immediately suspended him from running any horses at the track, and the Stronach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club set terms, including vigorous drug testing, for Baffert in order to run Medina Spirit in the Preakness the following Saturday.
On Saturday, May 15 in Maryland, Michael McCarthy‘s under-the-radar runner Rombauer romped past favorites Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon to win the 146th Preakness Stakes.
The New York Racing Association has banned Baffert, pending further investigation into Medina Spirit’s post-Derby drug test.
At least 11,000 fans are expected to attend the Belmont Stakes. Social distancing will be mandatory, and spectators must be vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19.
What is the Belmont Stakes?
The Belmont Stakes is traditionally the last leg of the American Triple Crown of horse racing. Like the Derby and the Preakness, it’s a Grade I Thoroughbred stakes races. The Belmont Stakes is 1 1/2 miles, or 12 furlongs, which makes it the longest race in the Triple Crown.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Belmont Stakes was the first Triple Crown race run and was moved back from Saturday, June 6 to Saturday, June 20, and the race was shortened to 1 1/8-miles (9 furlongs) “to properly account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series and overall calendar for 3-year-olds in training,” the New York Racing Association said in a statement.
The Belmont is run on the dirt track (also known as “Big Sandy”) at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It was first raced in 1867, making it the oldest jewel in the Triple Crown (and the fourth oldest race in North America). However, the race wasn’t run in 1911 or 1912, which is why the Kentucky Derby is still the longest continuous sporting event in the country. The Belmont always been run in or around New York City, having raced at Jerome Park (now closed), Morris Park (also closed) and Aqueduct in addition to Belmont, which is just east of Queens.
Aside from being the last hurdle for Triple Crown contenders, the Belmont is known for Secretariat’s 31-length victory in 1973, which sealed his Triple Crown title and set the current world record at 2:24 for 1 1/2 miles on dirt.
When is the 2021 Belmont Stakes?
The 153rd Belmont Stakes is on Saturday, June 5. NBC Sports will broadcast live from Belmont Park on June 5 from 3-5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5-7 p.m. on NBC. Post time is set for approximately 6:49 p.m.
How can I watch the 2021 Belmont Stakes?
NBC is home to the 153rd Belmont Stakes, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live before, during and after the main event. Get started with NBCSN on Friday, June 4 from 5 to 6 p.m. ET. NBCSN coverage continues on Saturday, June 5 at 3 p.m. before moving to NBC at 5 p.m. All coverage is available on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app as well.
What is unique about the Belmont Stakes?
The Belmont is the final test for horses seeking a Triple Crown title. Horses have an additional week of rest between races as opposed to the Preakness, but the Belmont is also the longest race of the three.
Belmont Park is only a few miles away from New York City, and city dwellers can just hop on the Long Island Rail Road for a day at the races. In non-COVID years, the annual Belmont Festival features several days packed with racing and other events.
Who won the 2020 Belmont Stakes?
Barclay Tagg’s Tiz the Law kicked off a scrambled 2020 Triple Crown by becoming the first New York-bred horse to win the Belmont Stakes since Forester in 1882. Ownership group Sackatoga Stable previously partnered with Tagg to field unlikely 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide. Tiz the Law went on to win the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in convincing fashion. He headed south to Churchill Downs as the favorite in the 146th Kentucky Derby but fell short behind eventual Horse of the Year Authentic. After finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he was retired to stud at Ashford Stud, Coolmore’s stateside breeding operation.
Watch the 153rd Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 5 from 3 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 5 to 7 p.m. on NBC. Coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app.