In 1867 the first-ever Belmont Stakes was run, since then the third and longest leg of the Triple Crown of horse racing has been run through thick and thin; world wars, great depressions, the Carter administration, none of these were big enough to stop the race. That all might change this year. The NY Racing Association, who runs the Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga race tracks may not be able to open for the Spring-Summer season due to budgetary concerns.
“Anytime you face the possibility of not running the Belmont spring meet, and therefore the Belmont Stakes, it is a serious situation,” spokesman Dan Silver said Monday.
NYRA President Charles Hayward has reported previously that the Association is likely to run out of operating money in May or June.
One of the major stumbling blocks has been the delay in naming an operator for the slot machines at Aqueduct, which was approved in 2001 but has yet to be enacted.
Last year the NYRA received a state bailout of $30M to help stave off bankruptcy, but that money will be gone by spring meaning the Triple Crown may find itself a Double Crown for the first time.