Belmont Stakes 2020: Latest Weather Forecast, Track Conditions Update

Weather conditions could be a factor in the opening leg of the Triple Crown, with forecasts calling for a chance of rain at Belmont Park, New York, on Saturday,

Traditionally the final race of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes serves as the opening chapter this year, after the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes were postponed because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Belmont Stakes itself was postponed by two weeks and will be run over 1.1 miles as opposed to the traditional 1.5-mile distance.

Rain hasn't been an issue at Belmont Park in almost a decade, since Ruler On Ice won in 2011 on a sloppy track, but that dry run could come to an end this season—with skies expected to open above New York on Saturday afternoon.

The Weather Channel forecasts the weather to be partly cloudy early in the day and thunderstorms becoming likely during the afternoon, with an 80 percent chance of rain and temperatures between a low of 62 degrees and a top of 80.

AccuWeather has a slightly rosier forecast, calling for partly sunny weather with a 40 percent chance of rain and temperatures oscillating between a low of 62 degrees and a top of 80.

Only 37 of the 151 previous iterations of the Belmont Stakes have been run on an off-track—that is to say on a wet racing surface—and wet weather could be a challenge for bookmakers' favorite Tiz The Law.

The three-year-old colt trained by veteran Barclay Tagg enters the Belmont Stakes on the back of four wins in his five starts, which included a trio of graded stakes victories, but struggled on heavy ground at the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs in November last year, finishing third after starting as 3/5 favorite.

"He handled the mud OK, but I never was able to get him out of that spot on the rail," Manny Franco, who will ride the colt on Saturday, said at the time.

"He felt good the entire way, but he got a little too far behind horses and we never got through."

Tiz The Law is aiming to become the first New York-based horse to win the "Test of the Champion" since Forrester triumphed at Belmont in 1882, while Tagg is hoping to saddle the first Belmont Stakes winner of his illustrious career.

The 82-year-old has racked up over 1,500 wins in his career, including the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 2003, but has never tasted success in the traditional final leg of the Triple Crown.

"It's his race to lose," former champion jockey and current FOX Sports/New York Racing Association analyst Richard Migliore told CBS New York earlier this week.

"He is just training so well on top of being what I consider to be the best three-year-old this year. Tiz the Law has been doing everything extremely professional.

"His last work, I know some people will pan it and say it was a little on the slow side but, I don't judge works on time, I judge them on how a horse is doing it, the way they look on the racetrack and honestly he could not look any better."

Belmont Stakes
Exercise riders and Racehorses enter the main track during morning training prior to the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 17 in Elmont, New York. Al Bello/Getty