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The 4-day Belmont Festival at Saratoga will feature 23 stakes races worth $10.1 million

NEW YORK (AP) — The four-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that will be held at Saratoga Race Course from June 6-9 will feature 23 stakes worth $10.1 million, the New York Racing Association announced Wednesday.

Nine of the stakes will run at different distances than in previous years because of the difference in circumference of Saratoga compared with Belmont Park.

The ongoing construction of the new $455 million Belmont Park forced the NYRA to move the Belmont Stakes upstate from its traditional home. In addition, the fall and spring/summer meets traditionally held at Belmont will take place at Aqueduct Racetrack in 2024.

As previously announced, the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, will be shortened from 1 1/2 miles to 1 1/4 miles to accommodate the configuration of Saratoga. It also had its purse increased to $2 million from $1.5 million, the first significant raise since 2014. Six other stakes also will have higher purses.

The Belmont is set to be run June 8 on a card that will feature nine graded stakes, six of which are Grade 1s.

Four races previously run at 1 1/16-miles — the Acorn, Ogden Phipps, Commentator and Critical Eye — will be run at 1 1/8-miles on the main track at Saratoga.

On the turf, the Manhattan and the New York will be contested at 1 3/16 miles rather than the customary 10 furlongs. The Jaipur and Intercontinental will each be run at 5 1/2 furlongs rather than 6.

Following the conclusion of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, the NYRA circuit will return to Aqueduct for the remainder of the spring before racing shifts to Saratoga for the annual summer meet from July 11-Sept. 2.

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AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports