Belmont Stakes Ratings Almost as Low as Attendance

Stephen Douglas
152nd Belmont Stakes
152nd Belmont Stakes / Horsephotos/Getty Images

Ratings for the 2020 Belmont Stakes were pitiful. With the Kentucky Derby and Preakness postponed until the fall, the Belmont acted as the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown. And no one cared. Ratings were worse than the most recent Belmont Stakes where there was no Triple Crown to be won:

Horse racing's Triple Crown events usually take place within a six-week window, kicked off by the Kentucky Derby on a weekend in May that feels like an unofficial start to summer. By the time the Belmont usually takes place, people have been talking about horse racing's premier events for nearly two months. Replace that with three months of quarantine and subtract the fans in attendance and it's kind of amazing it got that many viewers.

It just makes sense that there would be less buzz. Is anyone even going to remember Tiz the Law by the time the Kentucky Derby rolls around in September? After two and a half months off? And then another month until the Preakness?

The Kentucky Derby is a party. Going to the track is an experience. You take away the fans and make people watch on TV and it quickly starts to feel like Off Track Betting on a Wednesday afternoon. The Derby and Preakness are going to suffer too. The Preakness, in October, will be a ratings catastrophe if Tiz the Law doesn't win the Kentucky Derby. Look at how bad the ratings were last year without the Kentucky Derby winner. They're the same as this year's Belmont.