It’s Belmont Stakes Week. Odd as it seems, with a new distance and a new place on the calendar, this year’s Belmont Stakes is unlike any other. A compact field of nine is expected for the historic race.
So to begin the week the Daily Racing Blog offers you some tasty tidbits, and helpful, historical, hints regarding the Belmont Stakes.
1. This year is the first time ever that the Belmont will precede both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. The Derby will be run September 5th and the Preakness on October 3rd.
2. The Belmont Stakes has been Won by the betting favorite just three times in the last 15 years. Two were Triple Crown Winners: JUSTIFY (2018), AMERICAN PHAROAH (2015), while AFLEET ALEX went off as the betting favorite in 2005. Historically though, favorites fare a little better with 63 wins in 151 editions, good for a 42% Win rate.
3. The Belmont Stakes is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races this year. While usually the longest of the three at 1 ½ miles, the Belmont has been shortened to 1 1/8 miles for 2020 since 3-year-olds haven’t been able to build stamina with the customary racing calendar this spring.
4. The race has been run at four different tracks, all in New York. The Belmont Stakes was inaugurated in 1867 at Jerome Park, moved to Morris Park in 1890, and then was held at Belmont Park when that track opened in 1905. From 1963 to 1967, the Belmont Stakes was held at Aqueduct while Belmont Park was rebuilt.
5. No woman has trained a Winner of the Belmont Stakes. That could change this year if the Linda Rice entrant MAX PLAYER is Victorious.
6. The Belmont has been decided by the slimmest of margins- a nose, on four occasions: when CREATOR edged DESTIN in 2016, VICTORY GALLOP denied REAL QUIET the Triple Crown in 1998, when JAIPUR defeated ADMIRAL’S VOYAGE in 1962, and when GRANVILLE beat MR. BONES in 1936.
7. Triple Crown Winners own the two largest Winning margins in the Belmont. SECRETARIAT Won by 31 lengths in 1973 and COUNT FLEET Won by 25 lengths 30 years prior.
8. Last year a grand total of $102,163,280 was wagered on Belmont day races, including more than $90 million wagered off-site. That (off-site) number will rise this year as fewer dollars will be bet on-track due to the fact that there will be a very limited number of people present and no fans.
9. Trainer Todd Pletcher has more Wins in the Belmont than any other conditioner in this year’s race, with three: filly RAGS TO RICHES (2007), PALICE MALICE (2013), and TAPWRIT (2017). Saturday he has two chances to add to his total with DR POST and FARMINGTON ROAD expected to be entered.
10. This year’s Belmont Stakes is worth $1 million dollars, with $535,000 of that earmarked for the Winner. RUTHLESS, the Winner of the first-ever Belmont Stakes took home $1,850 dollars of a total purse worth $2,500.
Post Positions for this years Belmont will be drawn on Wednesday, so later in the week the Daily Racing Blog will take a look at the field that kicks off this year’s wacky Triple Crown series.