Will the 3rd leg of 2018 Triple Crown be run in the mud at Belmont?

This year's Belmont Stakes and 13th quest for horse racing's Triple Crown may be a close call with rain and sunshine.

Saturday will mark the 150th running of the Belmont States at Belmont Park, Elmont, Long Island, New York.

Following the storm that brought downpours to end the first weekend of June in the New York City area and Belmont Park, the next chance of drenching rain will occur this weekend.

Whether or not it pours around race time at 6:37 p.m. EDT, Saturday, June 9, as Justify seeks to be the 13th Triple Crown winner will depend on the speed of the next storm.

At this time it appears that heavy, steady rain will hold off until later Saturday night or Sunday on Long Island. However, any increase in forward speed of that storm, which is still out over the Pacific Ocean, may have a wet outcome for the race.

Static Belmont Stakes 2018

"There is the chance of a shower popping up ahead of the main storm this coming weekend," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

A boundary between cool air over New England and warm, humid air over the central Appalachians, could unleash spotty showers ahead of the main storm along the upper mid-Atlantic coast on Saturday afternoon and evening.

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Justify wins rainy 143rd Preakness Stakes
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Justify wins rainy 143rd Preakness Stakes
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 19: Justify #7 ridden by jockey Mike Smith wins the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 19: Justify #7 ridden by jockey Mike Smith wins the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 19: Justify #7 ridden by jockey Mike Smith celebrates after winning the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 19: Justify #7 with Mike Smith defeats Tenforld #6 to win the 143rd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse on May 19, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND- MAY 19: Justify, with Mike Smith aboard, wins the G1 Preakness Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland (Photo by Horsephotos/Getty Images)
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"Belmont has a sandy consistency to the track and drains very well," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson.

"In order for sloppy conditions to occur for the 2018 Belmont Stakes, it would have to pour right before or during the race," Thompson said.

If it manages to pour early Saturday evening, it will end up being soggy for all three legs of the triple crown.

Training and running horses in prolonged wet weather can raise the risk of a hoof injury, according to the Horse.com.

While some horses, such as Justify, seem to handle the wet weather, other horses may not run as well with mud being splattered in their face. Mud may also increase the risk of a horse slipping. Mud may even out some of the competition but cause other horses to fall well off the pace.

Both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness were run in the mud in 2018. The 2018 Kentucky Derby was the wettest on record with more than 3 inches of rain. Rain fell every day for a weak leading up to and including the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore.

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Scenes from the 144th Kentucky Derby
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Scenes from the 144th Kentucky Derby
May 5, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; A general view of roses in the infield before the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; Horses make their way around the first turn during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; Mike Smith aboard Justify (7) beats Javier Castellano aboard Audible (5) to the finish line to win the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05: Justify #7, ridden by jockey Mike Smith crosses the finish line to win the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05: Men in fancy patterned suits cheer with their Mint Juleps on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Mary Meek/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05: Justify #7, ridden by jockey Mike Smith crosses the finish line to win the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05: Jockey Mike Smith celebrates atop of Justify #7 after winning the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05: Jockey Mike Smith celebrates atop of Justify #7 after winning the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
May 5, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; From left Paige Rogers , Josephine Whan and Soohuen Whan take shelter from the rain under a tarp during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; A general view from the infield during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05: A view of the Churchill Downs race track during Kentucky Derby 144 on May 5, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Chruchill Downs)
May 5, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; Women in derby attire wear plastic bags to seek shelter from the rain during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jim Owens-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; Rain falls before the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jim Owens-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; Lora Coomes wears a derby hat during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jim Owens-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; Mike Smith aboard Justify (7) in the winner's circle during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05: Jockey Mike Smith celebrates with trainer Bob Baffert after winning the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The last horse to win the Triple Crown was American Pharoah in 2015. Prior to 2015, there were no Triple Crown winners since the 1970s, when Affirmed (1978), Seattle Slew (1977) and Secretariat (1973) won. Secretariat holds the speed record for all of the three Triple Crown races, including the world record on dirt for 1.5 miles set at Belmont.

This week, conditions leading up to the Belmont Stakes will not be entirely free of rain. A couple of weak storm systems are forecast to move through.

Static US Midweek

One may bring showers and a thunderstorm from late Tuesday to Tuesday night. Another may do the same from Thursday night to Friday.

However, in lieu of any rain on Saturday evening, there should be enough space between rain events to allow the track to drain off on/by Saturday in what should be an exciting race. A repeat of the week-long downpours experienced at Baltimore leading up to the Preakness is not anticipated.

High temperatures most days this week will be in the 70s F at Belmont. The warmest day is likely to be on Friday, when temperatures may top 80.

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