Important Belmont Stakes facts and figures
The Belmont S. (G1), the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, will feature a handful of Derby runners, Preakness contenders, and a few newcomers in the 154th edition of “The Test of the Champion,” set for June 11 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
Among the field is Rich Strike, the 80-1 longshot who stunned the world with his unexpected win in the Kentucky Derby, then skipped the Preakness in an effort to prepare for the arduous, 1 1/2-mile distance of the Belmont.
Before we watch the deep closer challenge a group of three-year-old colts and one prized filly in “The Run for the Carnations,” let’s look at some fast facts and figures about the Belmont S., including records for fastest time, largest win margin, victories by a jockey, and the number of fillies who triumphed in the historic race.
The Belmont was first held at Jerome Park Racetrack in The Bronx on June 19, 1867 — a Thursday — and is the oldest of the Triple Crown races. Because of the Hart-Agnew Law, an anti-gambling bill passed into law by the state of New York in 1908, the Belmont was not run from 1911-12, and thus the Kentucky Derby is the longest continuously held Triple Crown race, in addition to the longest continuously held sporting event in North America.
Date of race: First or second Saturday in June
For most of its history, the Belmont has been raced on the first or second Saturday in June, five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness.
Location: Belmont Park, Elmont, New York
In May 1905, Belmont Park’s 430-acre racetrack in Elmont, New York was opened on Long Island and became the permanent home of the Belmont S. Prior to 1905, the race was hosted at Morris Park Racecourse from 1890 to 1904 and Jerome Park Racetrack from 1867 to 1889.
Distance: 1 1/2 miles (12 furlongs) on dirt
With the exception of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a temporary shift in the Triple Crown schedule, the Belmont S. has been run at 1 1/2 miles since 1926. The race was also held at this distance during the period of 1874-1889.
From 1867-1873, the Belmont spanned a mile and five furlongs, while it was conducted at 1 1/4 miles in 1890–1892, 1895, and 1904–1905. From 1893–1894 and in 2020, it was raced at a mile and a furlong, and was a mile and three furlongs from 1896 to 1903 and 1906–1925.
Purse: $1.5 million
The purse for the inaugural Belmont S. in 1867 was worth $1,500, plus nomination and entry fees.
Today’s purse is worth $1.5 million, as has been the case since 2014.
Nickname: the “Test of the Champion” and “The Run for the Carnations”
Because the Belmont is the longest of the Triple Crown races, it earned the nickname “The Test of the Champion.” Other nicknames include “The Run for the Carnations,” akin to the Kentucky Derby’s Run for the Roses, as the winner of the Belmont is draped with a blanket made of about 700 white carnations, which represent love and luck.
A similar blanket is also made each year for the statue of Secretariat in the Belmont paddock.
Still the horse to beat at #Belmont. Secretariat with his blanket of white carnations. #1010wins pic.twitter.com/Sth88tdyPY— Al Jones (@aljoneswins) June 5, 2015
Fastest time: 2:24 (Secretariat in 1973)
In 1973, Secretariat broke a 25-year Triple Crown drought when he won the Belmont in 2:24, a record for the race, as well as a track record and world record on dirt.
His 1/2-, 3/4-, 1- and 1 1/4-mile fractions are also the fastest in Belmont history.
Most wins by a jockey: 6
Eddie Arcaro (1941, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1952, 1955) and Jim McLaughlin (1882, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1888) are tied with six Belmont wins apiece. Arcaro boarded two Triple Crown winners, Citation and Whirlaway, and has also achieved the most Kentucky Derby (5) and Preakness (6) victories.
Most wins by a trainer: 8
In addition to his eight Belmont wins as a trainer (1883, 1884, 1901, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1913), James G. Rowe Sr. also crossed the wire first in the Belmont as a jockey twice (1872, 1873).
Biggest longshot: 70-1, Sarava in 2002
The dark bay colt trained by Kenny McPeek upset War Emblem’s bid for the Triple Crown.
Number of winning fillies: 3
The inaugural Belmont was won by Travers S.-winning filly Ruthless. As of 2021, 23 fillies have attempted the Belmont S., but just three have won — Tanya (1905) and Rags to Riches (2007) are the others.
As for female connections, Julie Krone became the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown race when she crossed the finish line first with Colonial Affair in the 1993 Belmont.
Largest margin of victory: 31 lengths, Secretariat in 1973
In what is regarded as one of the greatest races in history, Secretariat not only shattered time records in his Belmont romp but won by 31 lengths to break the margin-of-victory record set by Triple Crown winner Count Fleet, who claimed the Belmont by 25 lengths in 1943.
45 Years Ago Today: Secretariat wins the Belmont in perhaps the most dominating performance in sports history, 2:24 time still stands as the record today. pic.twitter.com/qgB73y3CKe— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 9, 2018
Horses that won Derby and Preakness but not Belmont (23)
I’ll Have Another
Horses that won Preakness and Belmont but not Derby (18)
Duke of Magenta
Man O’ War
Horses that won Derby and Belmont but not Preakness (11)
Triple Crown winners (13)
Belmont Stakes Records Infographic