Belmont Stakes draws thousands of fans to Triple Crown finale on LI

Long Island
fans arrive at belmont stakes horse race on long island

Horse racing fans go through security and COVID-19 safety checks as they arrive at Belmont Park for the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes horse race on June 5, 2021, in Elmont, New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

LONG ISLAND — Thousands of horse racing fans headed to Belmont Park on Long Island Saturday for the annual Belmont Stakes.

About 11,000 spectators were expected to fill the stands this year after last year’s races ran without any fans present due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s event included vaccinated-only sections and a mask requirement for anyone who is not fully vaccinated. Temperature checks and other COVID safety protocols were also put in place.

The Belmont Stakes is traditionally the third and final horse race in the Triple Crown, following the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.  Last year, the lineup of races was switched around because of the pandemic.

The Triple Crown has been won 13 times, most recently by Justify in 2018. There’s no Triple Crown contender this year after Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby but Rombauer won the Preakness Stakes.

After the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit tested positive for steroids and trainer Bob Baffert was suspended for two years.

Disqualification of Medina Spirit could be next. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is still completing its investigation before making that ruling.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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