Belmont Stakes is one of the most famous and well-attended races for United States Thoroughbreds. Established back in 1867, it is only open for horses doing their three-year-old season, and it is one of the three races in the U.S. Triple Crown; the other two being the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
Where is the Belmont Stakes?
The Belmont Stakes have used various racetracks in the past, but all of them have been located in or near New York City. Previous locations include Jerome Park in Bronx, Morris Park in Westchester County / Bronx, and the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.
The Belmont Park on Long Island was opened in 1911 and every Belmont Stakes have been held there ever since, except for a few years in the 1960s when the racetrack at Belmont Park was undergoing renovations.
When is the Belmont Stakes?
There is no fixed date for the Belmont Stakes. The modern tradition is to always hold it on a Saturday, and always after both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes have taken place. The Belmont Stakes thus constitutes the last leg in the Triple Crown. In most years, the Belmont Stakes is held on the third Saturday following the Preakness Stakes, which means that it falls within the 5-11 June span and takes place on the first or second Saturday in the month of June.
How long is the Belmont Stakes?
The length of the Belmont Stakes has varied over time. In the 1800s and early 1900s, several different distances were employed, with the shortest one being 1 5/8 miles and the longest 1 1/8 miles.
In 1926, the distance 1 ½ mile was established and it has remained that distance ever since, except for the 2020 Belmont Stakes. With a distance of 1 ½ mile (12 furlongs), the Belmont Stakes is the longest of the three races that constitute the Triple Crown. For many three-year-old horses, the Belmont is therefore a greater challenge as they are unused to long-distance races. The Kentucky Derby is 1 ¼ mile and the Preakness Stakes is 13⁄16 mile.
Important: Because of the Covid19 pandemic, the 2020 Belmont Stakes was the first leg in the Triple Crown. Accordingly, the distance was shortened to 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs), which is the shortest distance for the Belmont Stakes since 1894.
Betting on the Belmont Stakes
Almost all sports books feature betting on the Belmont stakes and the other triple crown races. There are many good sports books you can chose to place a bet in and you can use a odds comparison website to find where you get the best odds for the bet you want to place. Some sports books and casinos will offer special Belmont stakes promotions if you place your first bet with them during the Belmont stakes. They often offer similar promotions for the other triple crown races.
- The Belmont Stakes is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbreds.
- The field is limited to 16 horses.
- Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds, fillies carry 121 pounds.
- The race is held on a dirt track in Belmont Park, Long Island, New York State. It is typically held on the first or second Saturday of June.
- Since 1921, the Belmont Stakes have been a counter-clockwise race. In 1867-1920, the race followed the English tradition of clockwise racing.
The Run for the Carnations
Belmont Stakes is also known as The Run for the Carnations, since the winner is covered in a blanket made from about 700 white carnations.
White Carnation also used to be the official drink of the Belmont Stakes, but in 1998 it was replaced by the Belmont Breeze.
The August Belmont Trophy
Since 1926, the winner of the Belmont Stakes has been presented with the August Belmont Trophy. The owner keeps the trophy for a year before returning it, but does get a silver miniature of the trophy to keep forever.
The traditional music of the Belmont Stakes is “The Sidewalks of New York”, and until 1996 this tune was played as the horses paraded just before the race. In 1997, it was replaced with a Frank Sinatra recording of “Theme from New York, New York”, in an effort to appeal to younger spectators. In 2010, Jay-Z´s “Empire State of Mind” was played instead, but that was a one-time thing and the 2011 Belmont Stakes returned to “Theme from New York, New York”.