All have returned to their common spots on the calendar with restricted followers this yr. The introduced crowd for the Kentucky Derby on Might 1 was 51,838, near a 3rd of the venue’s standard capability, however on the time it was the biggest crowd at a sporting event for the reason that pandemic started. Attendance for the Preakness on Might 15 was capped at 10,000. That could be a little lower than 10 % of the monitor’s standard capability.
When tickets went on sale for the Belmont in Might, attendance was capped at 11,000 followers primarily based on New York State steering that outside sports activities and leisure venues function at 33 % capability and all spectators submit proof of vaccination or a destructive coronavirus take a look at end result.
Since then, that steering has been relaxed and organizers have launched some extra tickets, however nonetheless anticipate about 11,000 folks. (The Belmont’s attendance report of 120,139 was set in 2004, when Birdstone denied Smarty Jones a Triple Crown sweep.) Proof of vaccination or a destructive take a look at is not required, and masks are necessary just for unvaccinated friends. There are not any normal admission tickets, and socially distanced seating is restricted to reserved seats and hospitality areas (some sections are designated for vaccinated folks solely). Belmont’s signature yard picnic space — normally lined with blankets and tenting chairs — will as an alternative be stuffed with picnic tables that have been bought in teams of six at greater than $100 every.
In 2020, Tiz the Legislation grew to become the primary New York-bred horse to win the Belmont Stakes in 138 years, however he did so on the shorter distance, not the punishing mile and a half that conjures up the race’s nickname, the Take a look at of the Champion. He completed second within the Derby, ending his modified Triple Crown hopes.
The Derby favourite is the favourite once more.
Rombauer defeated Midnight Bourbon by three and a half lengths within the Preakness, however he isn’t the morning-line favourite within the Belmont. That distinction goes to Important High quality, the Derby favourite who was bumped on the gate, ran huge round each turns and completed a fast-closing fourth for his first loss in six begins.
Important High quality is owned by the controversial ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has tactical pace and shouldn’t have any drawback with the mile and a half as his sire, Tapit, has produced three Belmont winners. Rombauer, who didn’t race within the Derby, picks up the veteran New York jockey John Velazquez, who gained his fourth Derby aboard Medina Spirit.