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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

Galloping Into a New Chapter: Belmont's Move to Saratoga Springs in 2024!

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Saratoga Springs Horse Racing
Welcome to Saratoga Springs at the end of Union Avenue

Last week the horse racing world was abuzz with the announcement that the 2024 Belmont Stakes would be held at the historic Saratoga Race Track. There are many reasons this decision was so exciting. Let's unpack all the details and the impact of this move:

What Is the Belmont Stakes?

Belmont Park Belmont Stakes
Stock photo of starting gate at Belmont Park

The Belmont Stakes is a prestigious American Thoroughbred horse race that is held annually at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is the third jewel in the Triple Crown horse races, the other two jewels being the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The ultimate goal in horse racing is to have a horse win all three Triple Crown races to win the Triple Crown Trophy. The winning horse will foreverafter be known as a Triple Crown winner. The Triple Crown Trophy was commissioned in 1950, but was awarded to all horses who had won all three Triple Crown races prior to 1950 as well as those who won al three races after 1950. Winning the Triple Crown Trophy is a difficult feat and only 13 horses have been awarded the Triple Crown Trophy since 1919. Some popular names in horse racing are included in that select group including Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and American Pharoah. Being the last race in the Triple Crown series, the Belmont Stakes can literally be high stakes if one horse has won Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and is trying to win that elusive Triple Crown Trophy.

Why is the Belmont Stakes being run at the Saratoga Race Track in 2024?

Saratoga Springs Saratoga Race Course horse racing
Starting gate at the Historic Saratoga Race Course

Belmont Park is undergoing massive renovations to upgrade and modernize the race facility to match the world class status of the Belmont Stakes and to provide a luxurious venue for all the other races on the Belmont Park schedule. It is anticipated that the renovations will not be completed until 2026. Therefore, a new location needed to be found to hold the third leg of the Triple Crown. Last week it was announced that the historic Saratoga Race Course was selected as the location for the 2024 race. It is anticipated that the 2025 race would also be run in Saratoga Springs, but that is not official and will depend on the construction progress and other factors.

The Belmont Stakes will be held on Saturday, June 8, at the Saratoga Race Course. There will be some differences to the traditional Belmont Stakes Race. First, the traditional Belmont Stakes race distancce of 1 1/2 miles will be reduced to 1 1/4 miles, due to the size of the Saratoga Track. Second, even though the race distance will be shorter, the purse will be larger! The prize money for the winning horse will be increased $500,000 to make the winning purse a cool $2.0 million. Hopefully we will also be watching a Triple Crown winner being christened!

In addition to the Belmont Stakes, Saratoga will host a long weekend of racing starting Thursday, June 6 and the race tickets will include 23 stake races for total winnings of $9.7 million. The Belmont weekend will conclude with a New York Showcase Day on Sunday, June 9 which will be races restricted to New York bred horses. The New York Showcase is usually held at Belmont Park on Memorial Day.

What does this mean for Saratoga Springs?

Saratoga is already well-established as a premier horse racing venue with its annual horse racing schedule running from mid-July through Labor Day. But hosting the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown series, is an amazing opportunity for Saratoga Springs! It will have a huge economic impact on the region by bringing tourism dollars to the local businesses during the somewhat quieter period before the regular racing season. It will also give Saratoga Springs an opportunity to highlight its charm and appeal to the world with the massive media attention that comes with the Triple Crown race. Saratoga Springs is a hidden gem and it will be able to showcase itself as a crown jewel of destinations while hosting the Triple Crown race.

Although hosting the Belmont Stakes will be incredible, it will not be without challenges. As the race is being held a month before the official start of the regular Saratoga horse racing season, local business and accommodations will need to ramp up staffing and inventory a bit earlier than usual. Security plans and personnel will need to be put into place to handle the anticipated influx of people coming to enjoy the Belmont weekend. But not to worry, as Saratoga Springs is used to dealing with these kinds of issues during the regular racing season, everyone knows exactly what to do. Necessary planning and actions will just have to happen a bit earlier and on a bit shorter timeline. I have no doubt that it will go off without a hitch and Saratoga Springs will shine like the diamond it is under the national spotlight!

Plan Your Belmont Stakes Trip to Saratoga Springs Now!

This will be a HUGE event with a lot of people looking to experience this historic event in Saratoga Springs. Hotels and local Air Bnbs are already booking up, so if you want to join in the fun I recommend securing your accommodations now. I would also consider making reservations to any restaurants you want to try as that will probably be challenging if you wait until the last minute.

Check out the various blogs I have written on restaurants, shopping and other things to do in Saratoga. They can all be found under my Saratoga Page. While the horse racing will be the primary focus, you will want to make sure to set aside some time to explore everything Saratoga Springs has to offer. It truly is an amazing place and I guarantee that once you visit, you will definitely want to come back again (and again!).

Saratoga Springs Horse Racing
Exit Sign at the Historic Saratoga Race Course


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