Rain at Belmont Stakes? What it would take to cancel the horse race

Belmont Stakes officials are hoping inclement weather doesn't rain on their parade during Saturday's big horse race, featuring fan favorite Justify — the undefeated colt hoping to win the coveted Triple Crown.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are currently in the forecast Saturday for Elmont, New York, where the race is taking place. The main event is slated to start around 6:37 p.m. ET.

"There is the chance of a shower popping up ahead of the main storm this coming weekend," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said in a blog post Tuesday.

Justify, who's hoping to become the 13th Triple Crown champion and the first since American Pharoah in 2015 this weekend, is used to running in muddy conditions.

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The race horse won by two and a half lengths at Churchill Downs during the wettest Derby in history. Prior to the race, the National Weather Service tweeted that rainfall totals in Louisville stood at 2.83 inches. During the Preakness Stakes, the horse was once again met with unfavorable weather conditions, running through fog and mud to snag first place with a half-length, 1:55.93 finish.

"He showed the way he won the other day he's courageous in his winning efforts," Justify's Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert told The Associated Press after the Preakness. "The horse does run in the mud well, but you ought to see him on a dry track."

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With clouds hovering, it looks like Justify may not get that chance.

We asked David Osojnak, assistant racing secretary for the New York Racing Association (NYRA), to explain how weather could impact the Belmont Stakes, and here's what he had to say.

What happens if it rains during a race?

Justify ran through fog and mud during both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

Justify ran through fog and mud during both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. (USA TODAY Sports via REUTERS)

"If it is just a steady rain fall, the horses will usually race as scheduled," Osojnak said.

If it's pouring, then the three stewards — one picked by the NYRA, another from the New York State Gaming Commission and the third appointed by The Jockey Club (TJC)" — on duty will convene to determine whether the race should be delayed.

What if there's lightning?

"If there is lightning in the immediate area, the horses may be held in the paddock until the lightning is over, and when the lightning passes the horses will be sent to the track for the race," Osojnak said.

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Can a race be canceled because of rain?

It's rare, but it has happened.

"I believe it was 2 years ago at Saratoga, on one of our big race days (Fourstar Dave Day), NYRA had to cancel racing after about the 5th race because there was a torrential rain storm," Osojnak explained. "The big races that were canceled that day were brought back the following weekend."

Hopefully that won't happen this Saturday, but if it does, Osojnak offered some words of encouragement for those in attendance: "Good luck ... and 'may the horse be with you' (an old race track saying)."

Fox News' Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.