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Posted by IonLoop on 6/19/2020
For the first time in history, the three races that make up thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown have been shuffled out of traditional order, thanks to the chaos of Covid-19.
Typically, the Kentucky Derby, which falls on the first Saturday in May, kicks off the competition, followed by the Preakness around mid-May, and finally, the Belmont Stakes. This year, the Belmont takes the lead on June 20th, followed by the Derby on September 5th, with the Preakness bringing up the rear on October 3rd.
Legendary trainer Bob Baffert texted Sports Illustrated, “Would have preferred the traditional Triple Crown but we are all just trying to get through this. Glad they didn’t cancel them. It will still be very exciting races and probably tougher because of the time between races.”
Or will it?
Contrary to Baffert’s projection, the wait between races might not prove tougher for the jockeys and, in fact, it might even be beneficial to the horses.
According to analysis by Sports Illustrated writer Pat Forde, Why the Revamped Triple Crown Dates Could Actually Be a Win for Horse Racing, “The recovery time between races will only help in terms of health, and presumably in terms of ownership groups’ interest in contesting all three.”
Although the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted sports -- from athletic events to amateur endeavors and even professional instruction -- the impact might wind up being advantageous for thoroughbred racing, even with restrictions in place. Racing fans will bear witness to a remarkable restriction during this year’s Belmont Stakes: no spectators. The stands at Belmont Park will be empty in the ongoing attempt to mitigate Covid-19 exposure and continue to flatten the curve.
Despite the silence surrounding the now shortened 1 ⅛-mile course, the horses will still thunder down the track, ridden by jockeys eager to secure first place and do so in record time.
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