Ten Things You Should Know: Belmont Stakes
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
3) Every edition of the race since 1867 has been run in New York. From 1867 to 1889, Jerome Park hosted the Belmont. The race moved to Morris Park in 1890. Since 1905 it has been held at Belmont Park with the exception of 1911 and 1912 when racing was banned in New York. Aqueduct hosted the race from 1963 to 1967 while Belmont Park was undergoing renovations.
4) The race has been run at the distance of a mile and a half since 1926. It is the longest of the Triple Crown races and the longest Grade 1 race on dirt in the United States.
5) Since 1919, twelve colts have won the Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown. Twenty-two colts won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but failed to win the Belmont while nineteen have won the Preakness and Belmont after failing in the Kentucky Derby.
6) In 1867, the filly Ruthless won the first Belmont Stakes. Another filly, Tanya, won the first edition of the race run at Belmont Park in 1905. In 2007, Rags to Riches became the first filly to win the Belmont since Tanya when she beat eventual horse of the year Curlin by a head.
7) Speaking of fillies, jockey Julie Krone became the first female to win a Triple Crown race when she won the Belmont Stakes aboard Colonial Affair in 1993.
8) Trainer Woody Stephens won an astounding five straight Belmont Stakes. He won with Conquistador Cielo (1982), Caveat (1983), Swale (1984), Creme Fraiche (1985), and Danzig Connection (1986).
9) A record crowd of 120,139 fans attended the 2004 Belmont Stakes to watch Smarty Jones try for the Triple Crown (he finished second). Smarty Jones is one of 13 colts – since Affirmed won the last Triple Crown in 1978 – that lost the Belmont after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. California Chrome was the last to lose the Triple Crown in the Belmont in 2014.
10) In 1973, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes in world record time by an unheard-of 31 lengths. Secretariat finished the 1 1/2 miles in 2:24, breaking the Belmont Stakes record time by nearly three seconds. No colt has been able to break 2:26 in the Belmont since.