The Belmont Stakes is the third and final leg of the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing. It follows the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes and is run over a longer distance than the two races. It's a well-attended race, although the other two legs of the Triple Crown generally attract more spectators. The Belmont Stakes is one of the longest established Thoroughbred races in North America with a number of traditions.
Held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, the Belmont Stakes is a Grade I stakes race for three year old Thoroughbreds. It's run over 12 furlongs (1.5 miles, just over 2 kilometers) on a dirt surface. The race is open to colts that must carry 126lbs in weight, and fillies that must carry 121lbs. The prize pool is $1 million with $600,000 of that going to the winning connections. The Belmont Stakes takes place exactly three weeks after the Preakness Stakes in early June. It's the final race in the Triple Crown Series.
Traditions & History of the Belmont Stakes
The inaugural Belmont Stakes was held in 1867 and took place at the Jerome Park Racetrack in New York. The building of this racetrack had been financed by August Belmont, and it was after him that the Belmont Stakes was named. The race was held annually at Jerome Park for over 20 years before moving to Morris Park Racecourse for a few years. In 1905, Belmont Park opened and became the new home of the event. It has been run there ever since, with the exception of four years during the 1960s when Belmont Park was under renovation. During those years, the Belmont Stakes was run at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The distance of the Belmont stakes has changed a number of times throughout history. The race has been as long as 13 furlongs and as short as 10. Since 1926, it has consistently been run over 12 furlongs. Secretariat holds the record for the fastest time in the Belmont Stakes over this distance set in 1973 when he won the US Triple Crown. His margin of victory, 31 lengths, is also a record. Another record was set in 1993 when Julie Krone became the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown race in America.
The Belmont Stakes is known as both the "Test of Champions" and the "Run for the Carnations." The first label is used for two reasons: it's the third leg of the Triple Crown (and therefore the final race a horse must win to be crowned champion) and it's the longest of the Triple Crown races requiring plenty of stamina. The second label is used since the winning horse is covered with a blanket of white carnations.
As with the other two races that make up the Triple Crown, the audience is traditionally invited to join in a song after the pre-race parade. The traditional song has changed a few times, but it's currently the theme from New York, New York. (For many years, it was Sidewalks of New York.) The Belmont Stakes also has a traditional cocktail: historically the White Carnation, but more recently the Belmont Breeze.
Betting on the 2016 Belmont Stakes
In our opinion, the easiest way to bet on the Belmont Stakes is to use one of our recommended online horse racing sites. The betting sites we recommend are all of the highest quality and cover the Belmont Stakes as well as many other horse races around the world. Closer to the 2016 Belmont Stakes, we will be adding a betting preview on this page, so please bookmark it and visit again for advice.
The most recent winners of the Belmont Stakes are as follows:
- 2016 - Creator. Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. and trained by Steven Asmussen.
- 2015 - American Pharoah. Ridden by Victor Espinoza and trained by Bob Baffert.
- 2014 - Tonalist. Ridden by Joel Rosario and trained by Christophe Clement.
- 2013 - Palace Malice. Ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Todd Pletcher.
- 2012 - Union Rags. Ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Michael Matz.
- 2011 - Ruler on Ice. Ridden by Jose Valdivia and trained by Kelly Breen.
- 2010 - Drosselmeyer. Ridden by Mike Smith and trained by William Mott.
- 2009 - Summer Bird. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux and trained by Tim Ice.
- 2008 - Da'Tara. Ridden by Alan Garcia and trained by Nick Zito.
- 2007 - Rags to Riches. Ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Todd Pletcher.
- 2006 - Jazil. Ridden by Fernando Jara and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.
- 2005 - Afleet Alex. Ridden by Jeremy Rose and trained by Timothy Ritchey.
- 2004 - Birdstone. Ridden by Edgar Prado and trained by Nick Zito.
- 2003 - Empire Maker. Ridden by Jerry Bailey and trained by Robert Frankel.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2016
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