The Belmont Stakes, one of the most prestigious and highly anticipated events in the world of horse racing, will be making a historic move in 2024. For the first time in its 150-year history, the Run for the Carnations will be held at the Saratoga Race Course. The change in location is expected to bring thousands of visitors to the Capital Region the weekend of the festival. Here’s what you need to know.

Why the Move?

The Belmont Stakes, which is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, has been traditionally held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The race has a long and rich history, with legendary horses such as Secretariat, Affirmed and American Pharoah all winning the coveted title. This year, the move to Saratoga is due to ongoing construction to revitalize the historic Belmont Park venue.

This isn’t the first time the Belmont Stakes has been held elsewhere due to renovations at the park; from 1963 to 1967 it was run at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. In fact, all other races in the 2024 summer season that are usually held at Belmont are being raced at Aqueduct this summer except for the Belmont Stakes.

Saratoga Race Course Brings a Different Vibe

Saratoga Race Course offers a different atmosphere. It is a smaller, more intimate venue, with a capacity of around 50,000 spectators. This change in setting is expected to bring a different energy to the race, making it a more exciting and unpredictable event. 

Another notable difference is the length of the race; The Belmont is traditionally the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1½ miles, but this year it will be 1¼ miles due to the configuration of Saratoga’s track. 

The Festival Details

The 2024 Belmont Stakes racing festival starts Thursday, June 6. The four-day event will offer 23 stakes races, featuring some of the highest-valued thoroughbreds in the world, and purses totaling $9.7 million. The Belmont Stakes race will run on Saturday, June 8, with an increased purse of $2 million. 

All tickets for June 8 are sold out, but fans may be able to secure tables in the reserved picnic paddock (approximately 100 tables) for the other three days of the Festival (June 6, 7 and 9) via Ticketmaster. Guests with general admission tickets will be able to vie for the rest of the picnic tables (a larger area with around 700 tables) on a first-come, first-serve basis (as is traditional during the Saratoga summer meets).

If you can’t attend the festival at the racecourse, you can probably find other fun events that weekend hosted by local venues looking to attract some of the anticipated crowds. At the very least, it’s a great opportunity to dress up, wear a fancy hat and make comments about being forced to mingle with the hoi polloi.

Top image by Stockbyte from Photo Images, via Canva.com.


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