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Belmont Stakes 2024: Where to watch, favorites to win

The Belmont Stakes horse race is here, being held for the next two years in Saratoga while the home base in Elmont gets a $455 million makeover.

This is the third leg of the Triple Crown series, preceded by the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. A Triple Crown winner is off the table, since there were different winners for the other two races, though the winners of the previous two are also among the 10-horse Belmont field.

The last time the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners raced in the Belmont Stakes was 2013, according to ESPN, making this year a tad historic. Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan is racing in all three, but came in second in the Preakness.

Also of note is that the last horse to win the Preakness and Belmont after losing in the Kentucky Derby was Afleet Alex in 2005, ESPN said. Preakness winner Seize the Grey will attempt to replicate that feat.

The racers will compete for a $2 million purse in the 156th such race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds, which began in 1867.

The race kicks off at 6:41 p.m. sharp on Saturday.

This year’s race will be 1¼ miles instead of its normal 1½ miles because of the shape of Saratoga’s track. Though 1½ miles has been the routine length since 1927, the pandemic shortened that to 1¼ miles in 2020.

Despite winning their respective Triple Crown races, Mystik Dan and Seize the Grey are not the favorites, odds-wise, in the Belmont. That spot goes to Sierra Leone, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, who is favored 9-5.

Mystik Dan is at 5-1 and Seize the Grey at 8-1, with Mindframe at 7-2 completing the top four picks, according to SportsLine.

This year’s race is folded into the four-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, which the Saratoga Race Course created specifically to accommodate the races normally held in New York’s Nassau County on Long Island. The events started Thursday and run through Sunday and include 23 stakes races with more than $10 million in purses.

The Belmont Stakes race day is sold out, but tickets for Sunday are still available, ranging from $10 for general admission to more than $1,000 for VIP seats.

Belmont Park will not be completely out of the picture. The New York Racing Association is hosting a watch party next door to the Long Island racetrack grounds at Northwell Presents The Park at UBS Arena.

Admission and parking are free for the event, which starts at 1 p.m. and includes mini golf, “family-friendly inflatables” and concession stands selling food and drinks — including of course the Belmont Jewel, the event’s signature cocktail.

Would-be partiers are encouraged to bring their own chairs, and park officials are requesting that anyone planning to attend fill out an RSVP form.

Watching from home is, as always, another option for viewing the race. Coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. on FS1, continues on Fox from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and moves to FS2 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

With News Wire Services