Belmont Stakes Race Card
The Belmont Stakes is the third jewel of the Triple Crown. It is held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
The Belmont Stakes, is named after August Belmont, a financier who made quite a name and fortune for himself in New York politics and society. Mr. Belmont was also quite involved in horse racing, and his imprint is even intertwined within the history of the Kentucky Derby.
The Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the three Triple Crown events. The Belmont predates the Preakness by six years and the Kentucky Derby by eight. The first running of the Belmont Stakes was in 1867 at Jerome Park, on, believe it or not, a Thursday. At a mile and five furlongs, the conditions included an entry fee of $200, half forfeit with $1,500 added.
Furthermore, not only is the Belmont the oldest Triple Crown race, but it is the fourth oldest race overall in North America. The Phoenix Stakes, now run in the fall at Keeneland as the Phoenix Breeders' Cup, was first run in 1831. The Queen's Plate in Canada made its debut in 1860, while the Travers in Saratoga opened in 1864. However, since there were gaps in sequence for the Travers, the Belmont is third only to the Phoenix and Queen's Plate in total runnings.
Some Key Belmont Moments
In 1890, the Belmont was moved from Jerome Park to Morris Park, a mile and three-eighths track located a few miles east of what is now Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The Belmont was held at Morris Park until Belmont Park's opening in 1905.
When Grey Lag won the Belmont in 1921, it marked the first running of the Belmont Stakes in the counter-clockwise manner of American fashion. This 53rd running was a mile and three-eighths over the main course; previous editions at Belmont Park had been run clockwise, in accordance with English custom, over a fish-hook course which included part of the training track and the main dirt oval.
The first post parade in this country came in the 14th running of the Belmont in 1880. Until then the horses went directly from paddock to post.
The Belmont Stakes was run at Jerome Park from 1867 to 1889; at Morris Park from 1890 to 1904; at Aqueduct from 1963 to 1967. Not run in 1911 and 1912. Run at a mile and five furlongs from 1867 to 1873; a mile and a quarter in 1890, 1891, 1892, 1895, 1904 and 1905; a mile and a furlong in 1893 and 1894; a mile and three furlongs from 1896 to 1903 and from 1906 to 1925. No time taken in 1907 and 1908. Run as a Handicap Stakes in 1895 and in 1913. The value for the 1987, 1988, and 1992 winners includes the $1,000,000 Triple Crown point system bonus.
As a horse racing saying goes - champion horses breed champions. This holds true in the Belmont Stakes. A total of eleven Belmont Stakes winners have sired at least one other Belmont winner.
Man o' War heads the list of Belmont champion sires. Not only did he win the race himself in 1920, but three of his subsequent sires won it as well: American Flag in 1925, Crusader in 1926 and War Admiral in 1937, who went on to win the Triple Crown.
Commando won the 1901 running, then sired Peter Pan, the 1907 champ and the Colin, the 1908 winner.
1930 champion Gallant Fox sired both Omaha (1935) and Granville (1936).
Count Fleet won the 1943 edition, and then sired back-to-back Belmont winners with Counterpoint (1951) and One Count (1952).
1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew sired a Call To The Derby Post favorite in Swale, who won both the Derby and the Belmont in 1984, as well as A.P. Indy, who won the Belmont in 1992. 1999 Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid is also a descendant of the Slew.
The following horses have sired one Belmont winner each: Duke of Magenta of 1878 sired Eric (1889); Spendthrift of 1879 sired Hastings (1896); Hastings then followed his again by siring Masterman, the 1902 winner. The Finn of 1915 sired Zev (1923); Sword Dancer of 1959 sired Damascus (1967); last but not least, Triple Crown winner Secretariat of 1973 sired Risen Star, the 1988 winner.