The Latest: Mostly quiet scene hours before Belmont Stakes

The Latest on the Belmont Stakes (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

The scene at the Belmont Stakes is a return to normalcy even if it isn’t quite the crowd of 100,000-plus that would attend if a Triple Crown were on the line. It’s more quiet than usual.

Mostly maskless fans had no trouble finding room to walk around the vast grandstand hours before the running of the $1.5 million, 1 1/2-mile race. While New York State removed the cap on attendance amid easing of pandemic restrictions, officials expected a crowd of roughly 10,000 for the big race day.

There was no walkup crowd possible because fans were required to pre-purchase tickets.

A strong field of eight horses is set to run in the Belmont.


12:15 p.m.

Jose Ortiz is replacing injured brother Irad riding Known Agenda in the Belmont Stakes.

I rad Ortiz Jr. was injured in a nasty fall during a race Thursday when he was thrown off his horse in the stretch. He seemed to escape serious injury but is expected to miss some time after getting stitches on his left arm and head.

Jose Ortiz told The Associated Press on Friday that his older brother was doing well and he expected him back soon. Jose was hoping to pick up Irad’s mount and got the nod from trainer Todd Pletcher over Hall of Fame jockeys Mike Smith and Javier Castellano.

Pletcher and Jose Ortiz teamed up to win the 2017 Belmont with Tapwrit. Pletcher has three horses in the $1.5 million, 1 1/2-mile race: Known Agenda, Bourbonic and Overtook.

Kendrick Carmouche is riding Bourbonic in the New York-based rider’s first Belmont. Manuel Franco is riding Overtook.

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