Will Belmont Stakes Be Canceled Due to Wildfire Smoke in New York?

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The Belmont Stakes remains on schedule for Saturday despite the cancellation of Thursday’s racing card at Belmont Park due to hazardous air-quality issues stemming from wildfires in Canada.

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced on Wednesday the suspension of racing and training activities at both Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.

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“Safety is paramount as we navigate this unprecedented situation,” NYRA President & CEO David O’Rourke said in a press release. “NYRA will actively monitor all available data and weather information as we work toward the resumption of training and racing both here at Belmont Park and at Saratoga Race Course. Based on current forecast models and consultation with our external weather services, we remain optimistic that we will see an improvement in air quality on Friday.”

Belmont Stakes Weather & Wildfire Smoke
A handler leads a horse back into the stables, as the sun is obscured by haze caused by Canadian wildfires ahead of the Belmont Stakes. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

With the New York metro area blanketed in haze, Major League Baseball postponed Wednesday’s White Sox-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium until Thursday as part of a doubleheader. The WNBA and National Women’s Soccer League also postponed games in the area due to air quality issues.

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Will Belmont Stakes Run as Scheduled?

On Thursday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul introduced new measures to protect horses at state racetracks in light of lingering air quality concerns.

“As New Yorkers continue to experience unhealthy air quality as a result of Canadian wildfires, we must all work to ensure that animals – including these peak-performance equine athletes — are protected,” Hochul said in a press release. “The measures being implemented at tracks across New York State are effective steps to keep all those who participate in the sport safe now and into the future.”

The New York State Gaming Commission suspended operations at all tracks until further notice. The Gaming Commission has implemented measures tied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality index (AQI). The AQI range will determine whether horse racing can be conducted at all state tracks including Belmont Park.

  • No racing or training may be conducted if the AQI exceeds 200 at a specific facility.
  • Only those horses that pass an additional pre-race respiratory veterinary examination will be permitted to race if the AQI ranges between 150 and 200 at a specific facility.

With conditions expected to get better starting on Friday, Belmont Stakes Day will hopefully not be impacted. Saturday’s 11-race card features nine stakes races culminating with the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes.

You won’t have to go searching for a “mudder” either, based on Saturday’s actual weather forecast. Weather.com predicts mainly sunny skies save for a few afternoon clouds with a high of 75 degrees. The chance of precipitation is only 5%.

The 2023 Belmont Stakes appears to be the best betting race in this year’s Triple Crown. Forte, who was scratched from the Kentucky Derby due to a foot injury, is the morning-line favorite at 5-2. He is expected to be challenged though by Tapit Trice (3-1), Angel of Empire (7-2), and Preakness winner National Treasure (5-1).

How to Watch Belmont Stakes 2023

Date: Saturday, June 10, 2023
Post time: 6:50 p.m. ET
Location: Belmont Park, Elmont, NY

About the Author
Kris Johnson

Kris Johnson

Senior Writer
Kris Johnson is a senior writer at Gaming Today with more than 15 years of experience as a sports journalist. Johnson's work has appeared in Sports Business Daily, Sports Business Journal, NASCAR Illustrated, and other publications. He also authored a sports betting novel titled The Endgame.

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