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BELMONT STAKES HISTORY

 

The Belmont Stakes is one of the most storied races in the history of thoroughbred horseracing. Eleven horses have won the Belmont Stakes after taking the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in their previous two starts. It has been nicknamed the �Test of Champions� for a reason. The hype is usually much higher with a Triple Crown on the line.


Let�s take a look at the history of the Belmont Stakes.


The $1,000,000 Grade I Belmont Stakes takes place three weeks after the Preakness Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY. It is open to all three-year-olds and is contested at the distance of 1.5 miles. The winner is draped in Carnations, and the crowd takes part in the singing of �New York, New York� prior to the race.


The inaugural running occurred in 1867 at Jerome Park Racetrack. The race then ventured to Morris Park Racecourse, until it reached its home of Belmont Park in 1905. Due to anti betting laws the race was not run in 1911 and 1912. It was moved to Aqueduct Racetrack from 1963-1967 because of construction at Belmont Park.


While researching this article, I was surprised to learn that prior to 1921, the race was run in a clockwise direction like in places such as the United Kingdom. The first horse to win the Belmont Stakes was the filly Ruthless. Along with Rags to Riches and Tanya, she is one of the only fillies to ever win the race. The first horse to win the Belmont Stakes and complete the Triple Crown sweep was Sir Barton in 1919. Sarava won the race at the record odds of 70-1 in 2002, ending the Triple Crown bid of the Bob Baffert trained War Emblem.


Julie Krone, arguably the greatest female jockey of all time, became the first female to win the Belmont Stakes in 1993. Jim McLaughlin and Eddie Arcaro share the record for most wins by a jockey at 6. James G. Rowe, Sr. holds the record for most wins by a trainer at 8. The great Woody Stephens took the race 5 times, all consecutively from 1982-1986.


Some of the most notable recent winners are future super sire A.P. Indy, who won the race in 1992. The Belmont Stakes and Breeders Cup Classic were the two marquee wins that made him Horse of the Year in the same year he won the Test of Champions. Birdstone won in 2004, knocking out the seemingly invincible Smarty Jones. He would go on to sire 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who will be seeking to win the race this year.


Secretariat holds the record for margin of victory at 31 lengths and winning time at 2:24. That time broke the world record, and still stands to this day. His winning margin for the race was not only the largest in the history of the event, but the largest in any Grade I race ever. The track announcer commented ��He is moving like a TREMENDOUS machine!� instantly hooking new racing fans all over the globe.


The Belmont Stakes is something that racing fans look forward to all year. Absolutely anything can happen. The chalk could run, but it�s much more likely that we will see a horse that pays in excess of $15 to win. Get ready; its going down on Saturday, June 8th at Belmont Park!

 

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