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What time does the 2020 Belmont Stakes start?

Horses and riders arrive to the track for workouts at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Horses and riders arrive on the track at Belmont Park for a morning workout session Friday.
(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

One thing about this year in sports is that nothing is as it used to be, especially when it comes to timing. All of which begs the question: What time is Saturday’s Belmont Stakes?

In a normal year, it would be going off around 6:40 p.m. in Elmont, N.Y., and all up and down the East Coast. But, this year, it’s like coming out of daylight saving time and you have to set your watch an hour earlier for a 5.42 p.m. start.

Of course, you can do the math, but we’ll give you a little help. In Los Angeles, that’s 2:42 p.m., or 3:42 p.m. in the Mountain time zone and 4:42 p.m. if you live in the Midwest, or Central, time zone.

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The race will be held without spectators, which means you will be deprived of all the drunken fans with bad hats. It’s unclear whether they will play Frank Sinatra’s iconic “New York, New York.”

As for television, well, that’s a little tricky. The main event coverage will be from noon until 3 p.m. PDT. Yes, we’re switching back to all Pacific time. If you’re on the East Coast, add three hours to everything.

Normally the lead-up coverage of early races would be done by NBC’s baby brother, NBCSN, and the racing junkie channel, TVG. But with competition for sports programming this year, the coverage is being split between NBC and Fox. The New York Racing Assn. has entered into a deal with Fox, which is where you could find horse racing on the weekend for the past few weeks.

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So, coverage starts on Fox’s baby brother, Fox Sports 1, for coverage between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. (Remember, that’s Pacific time.) At 11 a.m., it switches to Fox’s least favorite child, Fox Sports 2. It goes for an hour before NBC brings out its coverage at noon. Now, FS2 does pick up the coverage at 3 p.m., after the Belmont is over.

So, that’s the complicated answer to the very simple question of what time is the best 1½ miles of racing that the sport has to offer. Oh, that’s right, it’s also shortened from the norm and the race is only 1 1/8 miles.


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