As summer weather nears, things are getting back to a new normal for horseplayers around the country as more and more thoroughbred and harness tracks open every day. Though on track spectators are not allowed, simulcast signals from every track are available to watch and wager on line. Virginia residents can wager via these four industry partners: TVG.com, Xpressbet.com, Twinspires.com and NYRABets.com.
Thoroughbred tracks currently available are Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, Golden Gate, Charles Town, Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream, Mountaineer, Assiniboia, Lone Star, Laurel, Fort Erie and Belmont. Later in the week, Thistledown, Belterra, Evangeline and Woodbine begin. Later in the month, Delta Downs, Indiana Grand, Delaware Park and Los Alamitos all start.
Though every harness track was shut down for two months, Scioto Downs, Northfield and Buffalo are up and running again while Mohawk, Meadowlands, Tioga, Hawthorne and Georgian Downs all start up later this week. In coming June days, Vernon, Running Aces, Hoosier and Harrington will begin as well.
The stakes calendar is taking shape nicely and is headlined by the Belmont Stakes — normally the third leg of the Triple Crown — on June 20. The $1 million Grade I stakes will kick off the 2020 Triple Crown Series at a revised distance of 9 furlongs. The Kentucky Derby (Sept. 5) and Preakness (Oct. 3) will follow. Belmont Day’s traditional strong under card returns with a trio of additional Grade I stakes — the $300,000 Acorn, $250,000 Jaipur and $250,000 Woody Stephens. The Belmont card also features the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge and Grade 3 Wonder Again Stakes.
There is plenty of action in June before and after the Belmont Stakes. The $400,000 Santa Anita Derby (Gr. 1) headlines the menu on Saturday June 6. Santa Anita also plays host to the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup, Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks and a trio of other stakes on that card. Belmont chips in with a four pack of graded stakes the same day highighted by the Grade I Runhappy Carter Handicap. Others on the program include the Grade 2 Fort Marcy Stakes and a pair of Grade 3’s — the Intercontinental and Westchester Stakes.
The next weekend, Belmont hosts the Grade I, $300,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes on Saturday (June 13) while Golden Gate offers up the Grade 3, $250,000 San Fransisco Mile on Sunday (June 14).
The Saturday after the Belmont Stakes — June 27 — both Belmont and Churchill present four graded stakes each while Thistledown hosts the $500,000 Ohio Derby (Gr. 2). The headliner in New York is the Grade 1, $300,000 Just A Game Stakes while in Kentucky, the Grade 2, $500,000 Stephen Foster takes center stage.
Planning ahead, racing on July 4 features the Manhattan Stakes (Gr. I), Metropolitan Mile (Gr. I), Delaware Oaks (Gr. 3) and Kent Stakes (Gr. 3). And of course later in the month, Colonial Downs will usher in its second thoroughbred season under the ownership of the Colonial Downs Group. Final details on the meet will be announced soon.