The Belmont Stakes is noted for being the final leg of the Triple Crown, but it is so much more than that.
From its history to fun facts, here is a basic Belmont primer- giving the uninitiated all the information needed in order to appreciate the huge day of racing at Belmont Park.
WHO: Elite 3-Year-Old Thoroughbreds. Winning the Belmont Stakes is literally a once-in-a-lifetime chance for horses since the race is only open to 3-year-old Thoroughbreds.
Look at it this way: 19,664 Thoroughbreds were born in 2018, and of those, only one can be the Belmont Stakes Winner.
While the Belmont Stakes is open to both male and female horses, only three fillies have ever captured the race: RUTHLESS in 1867, TANYA in 1905, and RAGS TO RICHES in 2007.
WHAT: The Test Of Champions. The Belmont Stakes earned its nickname of The Test Of Champions in an honest fashion- at a mile and a half, it is the longest of the Triple Crown races.
That distance is a big reason why only 13 horses have Won the Triple Crown out of 35 Thoroughbreds who have come into the Belmont, having already taken the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Another basis for that moniker is that at no point in any thoroughbreds career would a horse be tasked with competing in (let alone Winning) three Grade 1 races within the span of 5 weeks.
WHERE: New York, New York. Or to be accurate, Long Island. Belmont Park is located at the corner of Queens and Nassau counties, and it’s an incredibly easy place to attend. Not only does Belmont offer bountiful parking, but you can reach the track by subway and the Long Island Railroad if you don’t feel like driving in the madness that is the L.I.E.
WHEN: Saturday, June 5th. Traditionally, the Belmont Stakes is run as the third leg of the Triple Crown, three weeks after the Preakness Stakes.
But that’s not always the case: 2020 being Bizarro World, the Belmont was the first leg of the series last year for the first time in its long history.
The very first running of the Belmont Stakes in 1867 took place on a Thursday.
WHY: New York History. The aforementioned first edition of the race was run at Jerome Park in the Bronx in 1867, but the race has been moved several times around New York City and its suburbs since its inception. It was held at the now-defunct Morris Park until 1905, when the race moved to the newly-constructed Belmont Park in Elmont.