|Grade 1 race|
Elmont, New York Flag of the United States
|Distance||1½ miles (12 furlongs)|
|Weight||Colt/Gelding: 126 lbs (57.2 kg)|
Filly: 121 lbs. (54.9 kg)
The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The race is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, following five weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes.
The Belmont Stakes is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) horse race, open to three year Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds (57 kg); fillies carry 121 pounds (55 kg). The attendance at the Belmont Stakes ranks fourth in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races, including the Breeders' Cup. The attendance at the Belmont Stakes typically trails only the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Oaks. For more information, see American Thoroughbred Racing top Attended Events.
The first Belmont Stakes was held at Jerome Park Racetrack in The Bronx, built in 1866 by stock market speculator Leonard Jerome (1817–1891) and financed by August Belmont, Sr. (1816–1890), for whom the race was named. The race continued to be held at Jerome Park until 1890, when it was moved to the nearby facility, Morris Park Racecourse. The race remained there until the May 1905 opening of the new Belmont Park, 430-acre (1.7 km²) racetrack in Elmont, New York in the borough of Queens.
When anti-gambling legislation was passed in New York State, Belmont Racetrack was closed, and the race was cancelled in 1911 and 1912.
The first post parade in the United States was at the 14th Belmont, in 1880. Before 1921, the race was run in the clockwise tradition of English racing. Since then, the race has been run in the American, or counter-clockwise, direction. The winner of the Belmont Stakes is presented the August Belmont Trophy, one of the most prestigious trophies in the country.
Because of its length (one lap around the enormous Belmont main track), and because it is the final race of the Triple Crown, it is called the "Test of the Champion". Most three-year-olds are unaccustomed to the distance, and lack the experience, if not the stamina, to maintain a winning speed for so long. In a long race such as the Belmont, positioning of the horse and the timing of the move to chase for the lead can be critical.
Due to the restoration and renovation of Belmont from 1963–1967, the race was held at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Evolution of the Triple Crown series
Since 1931, the order of Triple Crown races has been the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and then the Belmont Stakes. Prior to 1931, eleven times the Preakness was run before the Derby. On May 12, 1917 and again on May 13, 1922, the Preakness and the Derby were run on the same day. On eleven occasions, the Belmont Stakes was run before the Preakness Stakes.
The Belmont Stakes is held on the first Saturday that falls on or after June 5. The Kentucky Derby is always held on the first Saturday in May; the Preakness Stakes is held two weeks later; and the Belmont Stakes is held three weeks after the Preakness. The earliest possible date for the Derby is May 1, thus the earliest possible date for the Belmont is June 5.
The first winner of the Triple Crown, was the 1919 series won by Sir Barton. On June 9, 1973, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by thirty-one lengths, and a record of 2:24, becoming a Triple Crown champion that year. His record still stands as the fastest speed for the Belmont Stakes. Count Fleet won the race by the large margin of twenty-five lengths in 1943.
Changes in distance
The Belmont Stakes was run at a mile and five furlongs from 1867 to 1873; a mile and a quarter in 1890, 1891, 1892, 1895, 1904 and 1905; a mile and a furlong in 1893 and 1894; a mile and three furlongs from 1896 to 1903 and from 1906 to 1925. The current distance of a mile and half was established in 1926.
The Belmont Stakes is called the "Run for the Carnations" because the winning horse is blanketed with white carnations. Through 1996, the post-parade song was "Sidewalks of New York." From 1997 to 2009, the audience was invited to sing the Theme from New York, New York following the call to the "post". In 2010, the song was Empire State of Mind. This tradition is similar to the singing of local traditional songs at the post parades of the first two Triple Crown races: "My Old Kentucky Home" at the Kentucky Derby and "Maryland, My Maryland" at the Preakness Stakes.
Despite the fact that the Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the Triple Crown races, its traditions have been more subject to change. The theme song, which for decades was "The Sidewalks of New York," was changed in 1997 to "New York, New York" to appeal to younger fans. That same year the official drink was also changed, from the "White Carnation" to the "Belmont Breeze." The New York Times reviewed both cocktails unfavorably, calling the Belmont Breeze "a significant improvement over the nigh undrinkable White Carnation" despite the fact that it "tastes like a refined trashcan punch."
More longstanding traditions are the trophy and blanket of flowers. The winning owner is presented with the silver winner's trophy, designed by the renowned designer Paulding Farnham for Tiffany and Co.. It was first presented to a Stakes winner in 1869 and donated by the Belmont family for annual presentation in 1926. The winning horse is draped with a blanket of white carnations after the race.
From 1986 until 2005, the Triple Crown television rights comprised a single package. In late 2004, the New York Racing Association withdrew from that agreement to negotiate independently. As such, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes are televised on NBC while ABC carries the Belmont Stakes.
- CBS Sports 1960–1985
- ABC Sports 1986–2000
- NBC Sports 2001–2005
- ESPN on ABC 2006–present
- 2:24.00 - Secretariat (1973)
Record Victory Margin:
Most wins by a jockey:
Most wins by a trainer:
- 7 - Sam Hildreth
- 6 - Jim Fitzsimmons
- 5 - Woody Stephens (all consecutive from 1982–1986)
Most wins by an owner:
- 6 - Belair Stud (1930, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1939, 1955)
- 6 - James R. Keene (1879, 1901, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1910)
- 5 - Dwyer Brothers Stable (1883, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1888)
- 4 - Harry P. Whitney (1905, 1906, 1913, 1918)
- 4 - Glen Riddle Farm (1920, 1925, 1926, 1937)
- 4 - Greentree Stable (1931, 1942, 1949, 1968)
- 1874 - Saxon Flag of United Kingdom
- 1898 - Bowling Brook Flag of United Kingdom
On June 5, 1993 Thoroughbred racing's all-time leading female jockey, Julie Krone, became the first woman to win a Triple Crown race when she rode to victory in the Belmont Stakes aboard Colonial Affair.
In 1984, Sarah Lundy became the first female trainer to saddle a horse in the Belmont Stakes.
Winners of the Belmont Stakes since 1867
See also: Highest combined Triple Crown finish
Note: D. Wayne Lukas swept the 1995 Triple Crown with two different horses.
- American Thoroughbred Racing top Attended Events
- ↑ http://horseracing.about.com/od/belmontstakes/ss/aabeltraditions_4.htm
- ↑ http://horseracing.about.com/od/belmontstakes/ss/aabeltraditions_5.htm
- ↑ Julie Powell, "The Appetites Are Nearing the Gate", review of THE SUMMER COOK, 8 Jun 2005
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 John Scheinman, "ABC Will Broadcast Belmont Stakes Starting in 2006," The Washington Post, Tuesday, October 5, 2004.
- ↑ http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/9992/belmont-stakes-attendance-wagering-set-records