It doesn’t take the New York Racing Association long to pack the bus and ease on down the road. Saratoga‘s last day of racing (sniff) was on Monday September 3rd, and four days later on the the 7th, Belmont Park began its 2018 fall meet. The racetrack is located in Elmont, NY, (just east of New York City) which depending on traffic is a good four hour drive from The Spa.
The main track at the race course is the longest thoroughbred dirt track in North America, measuring out at a mile and a half. It has earned the nickname “The Big Sandy”, not only because of the length, but also its deep, loamy, and often times tiring surface.
The track is probably best known as the home to the Belmont Stakes. Which is the final gem in the quest for horse racing’s Triple Crown. This last leg in the series is commonly referred to as ‘The Test Of Champions’. To win the Triple Crown a horse has to win three races in a span of five weeks, the last being 1.5 miles (the longest of the three) at Belmont Park. Only true champions pass the test.
Most notably, in 1973 (on his way to winning the Triple Crown) SECRETARIAT set a track and world record (2 minutes & 24 seconds) for a mile and a half on a dirt track. A record which still stands to this day. A statue of SECRETARIAT stands in the center of the Belmont paddock area.
The fall meet runs until Sunday October 28. One of the better feature events is the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday September 29th. It is a Grade One Stakes Race for three year-olds and upward. It is run at a distance of a mile & 1/4 on the dirt track with a purse of $750,000.
The Daily Racing Blog will handicap that race as well as several others at Belmont, as we bide our time and wait for the Breeders Cup Championship on November second and third. So come on back.