The Belmont Stakes

As the third and final leg of the United States Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, the Belmont Stakes is held annually on the second (or sometimes the third) Saturday of June. It follows the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Also known as the 'Test of a Champion', it is considered to be the most difficult of the three races in the series.

The Third Leg in the US
Triple Crown Series

The race is open to three-year-old thoroughbreds of both sexes and is hosted at Belmont Park Racecourse in Elmont, New York. Since 1926, the Belmont Stakes has been run over a distance of one mile and four furlongs. In 1921, it was changed from a right-handed course to a left-headed one and remains so for the Belmont Stakes to this day. A weight requirement of 9 stones applies to colts, whereas fillies carry 8st-9lbs.

fact file

location: Belmont Park Racecourse

grade: Group 1

race type: Flat

History

The Belmont Stakes was introduced to the racing calendar in 1867, making it the oldest of the three US Triple Crown races. Since it was established, the Belmont Stakes has moved location several times. Originally the race was run at the Jerome Park racetrack in the Bronx, a venue financed by one August Belmont Sr - from whom the race takes its name. In 1890 the Belmont Stakes was moved to Morris Park Racecourse in Westchester County, where it would be hosted until 1905. This was to be when the new Belmont Park Racecourse was opened in Elmont.

The Belmont Stakes is truly an all-American sporting event. Since the first ever event, only nine foreign-born thoroughbreds have managed to claim victory. Five contenders from England, two Irish runners, and one lone Canadian are the only horses that were fast enough to defend the honour of non-American breeders at the Belmont.

Records

As the oldest of the US Triple Crown races, the Belmont Stakes hasn't lacked talented competitors (as of 2017) .

  • Secretariat (1973) holds the record for widest margin of 31 lengths and the record for fastest time of 2 minutes and 24 seconds.

  • The highest-priced winner was Sarava in 2002 at $142.50. The lowest-priced winner was Count Fleet at $2.10 in 1943.

  • 42% of favourites have won in the Belmont Stakes’ long history.

  • The trainer with the most wins is currently James Rowe who won on eight occasions from George Kinney in 1883 to Prince Eugene in 1913.

  • The jockey with the most wins is James McLoughlin who won on six occasions from Forrester in 1882 to Sir Dixon in 1888.

Best Moments

Seeing as this event plays a key part in the most popular thoroughbred racing series in the United States, it comes as no surprise that the Belmont Stakes has seen its fair share of historic track moments (as of 2017) .

jockey racing horse
  • In 1973, the iconic horse Secretariat completed the 1 ½ mile track in 2 minutes and 24 seconds setting a new world record for that distance on dirt. On the same occasion, Secretariat also set a track record for the longest winning margin ever recorded at Belmont Part Racecourse, leaving the field for dead with an incredible 31 lengths between himself and the runner-up. This made him the ninth to win the US Triple Crown in the history of the series.

  • The 1993 race made for a historic moment when jockey Julie Krone won on Colonial Affair becoming the first female rider to win a Triple Crown race. She is currently a Hall of Famer for her achievements.