Sitting right outside of New York City, Belmont Park has been entertaining horseplayers since 1905 and has hosted the Belmont Stakes right from that point, though the race existed before this and took place at both Jerome Park and Morris Park.
Belmont’s dirt track has not only bigger dimensions than most, giving it the name “Big Sandy”, but also tends to be quite deep meaning the mile-and-a-half trip for the big race truly tests these thoroughbreds out. Imagine winning the Kentucky Derby on a fast track over 10 furlongs, only to come here and face a deep, sometimes sloppy dirt track over 12 furlongs.
Just as is the case at Pimlico and Churchill Downs, huge crowds are entertained on the big day with over 120,000 in attendance for the 2004 Belmont Stakes when Birdstone played the pantomime villain in upsetting Triple Crown hope Smarty Jones.
Things have evolved of course since the days when 69,000 were in attendance to see Secretariat win the 1973 Triple Crown here.
Belmont is among the premier tracks on the circuit, hosting races such as the Suburban Handicap, the Mother Goose Stakes and the Man O’War Stakes among many others meaning it is not reliant on the Triple Crown to draw crowds.
The race has been going at Jerome Park and Morris Park since 1868 and here since 1905, though when anti-gambling legislation was passed in New York State, Belmont Was closed and between 1911 and 1912 this race was cancelled.
In 1920 history was made in the Belmont when Man O’War won the race by 20 lengths, setting a new record in the process.
The term ‘Triple Crown’ was first used colloquially when Gallant Fox won three big races in 1930 though was not widely used until 1935 when Omaha repeated the success. As the idea of an official Triple Crown evolved, Sir Barton was retroactively given the title.
In 1931, the order of the Triple Crown became the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes and then finally the Belmont Stakes in June which is the way it remains today.
The Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the three Triple Crown races and in 2018 will take place for the 150th time. As well as this, it of course is the last of the three legs and so is the race which crowns any Triple Crown champion.
This amazing feat has only been achieved 12 times in racing history, the most recent time being in 2015 by American Pharoah.
The current guaranteed purse for the Belmont Stakes stands at $1,500,000, the winner collecting the bulk of this with a first place prize of $800,000.
Just for context; in 1973 when the great Secretariat put in a stunning display to take this race and with it the Triple Crown, his connections won a share of a $125,000 purse.
Studying past and current form, checking the race history for trends and checking the latest odds are hugely important in attempting to bet the winner of this race and that can all be done by visiting right here leading up to post time. Current contenders are online here.
As a bettor, you should never go into any big race under informed so make sure you check back here at race time for all the latest information regarding one of America’s biggest races and the one that can crown the Triple Crown Champion.
If knowing the history of the race really whets your appetite, be sure to get involved with this year’s event by betting online here at TVG. Our race experts will be on hand during build-up to the big day offering in-depth analysis to help you bet wisely.