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149th Edition of the Belmont Stakes
Racetrack: Belmont Park
Location: Elmont, New York
Date: June 10, 2017
Triple Crown Betting: The Test of Champions. Many are the horses who lived to tell about the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but rare is the pony who can finish the deed and win the Triple Crown. The grueling 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes is known as the toughest race in the Sport of Kings to win, particularly for a colt who has already run in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Still, those who survive to win this race, even if they aren't Triple Crown winners, go down in immortality in the history of horse racing.
The 2017 Belmont Stakes is scheduled for Saturday, June 10. As is the case every year, the action at Belmont Park can be seen live on NBC.
2017 Belmont Stakes At a Glance
Race Distance: 1 1/2 Miles
Record: 2:24 (Secretariat, 1973)
Purse: Approximately $1.5 million
Qualification: 3-year olds (colts and fillies)
Generally speaking, if you own a three-year old thoroughbred, you can get him into the Belmont Stakes. In actuality though, you do actually have to qualify for the race. Finishing in the top five of either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown automatically gives a horse a spot in the Belmont Stakes field, while winning the Peter Pan Stakes the week between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes also grants admission into the field. Often times, any trainer who feels like his horse ran well at the Peter Pan tries his hand at the Belmont Stakes as well.
Fillies don't run in the Belmont Stakes often, but they do from time to time. With the Triple Tiara becoming less and less notable as time goes on, you'll sometimes see a filly get off of that trail and run in the Belmont instead.
Only a total of 23 fillies have ever tried to run in the Belmont Stakes. Three have won it, the only one of which since 1905 was Rags to Riches in 2007.
List of Belmont Stakes Winners (Since 2000)
|Year ||Winner ||Odds ||Jockey ||Trainer ||Time|
|2016||Creator||15.00||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Steve Asmussen||2:28.51|
|2015||American Pharoah||0.75||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||2:26.65|
|2014||Tonalist||12.00||Joel Rosario||Christophe Clement||2:28.52|
|2013||Palace Malice||13.00||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher||2:30.70|
|2012||Union Rags||3.00||John Velazquez||Michael Matz||2:30.42|
|2011||Ruler on Ice||24.00||Jose Valdivia Jr.||Kelly Breen||2:30.88|
|2010||Drosselmeyer||13.00||Mike Smith||William Mott||2:31.57|
|2009||Summer Bird||12.00||Kent Desormeaux||Tim Ice||2:27.54|
|2008||Da'Tara||38.00||Alan Garcia||Nick Zito||2:29.65|
|2007||Rags to Riches||4.00||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||2:28.74|
|2006||Jazil||6.00||Fernandez Jara||Kiaran McLaughlin||2:27.86|
|2005||Afleet Alex||1.15||Jeremy Rose||Timothy Ritchey||2:28.75|
|2004||Birdstone||36.00||Edgar Prado||Nick Zito||2:27.50|
|2003||Empire Maker||2.00||Jerry Bailey||Robert Frankel||2:28.26|
|2002||Sarava||70.25||Edgar Prado||Kenneth McPeek||2:29.71|
|2001||Point Given||1.35||Gary Stevens||Bob Baffert||2:26.56|
|2000||Commendable||18.80||Pat Day||D. Wayne Lukas||2:31.19|
Fastest Times in Belmont Stakes History
|Year ||Horse ||Time|
There really isn't a way to put Secretariat's run at the 1973 Belmont Stakes into perspective. To say that he was phenomenal that day is an understatement, as he ran the race in a record 2:24 flat and won by a record 31 lengths. There aren't many unbreakable records in sports, but this is chief amongst them. We've never even seen a horse run the third leg of the Triple Crown in 2:25, let alone in 2:24, and to win any race by 30+ lengths is just stupefying.
So consider anything beyond 2:27 to be a great time to win the Belmont Stakes in. American Pharoah blazed through the mile and a half in 2:26.65, the second fastest time ever for a Triple Crown winner behind Secretariat, and he and Point Given are the only two horses to run the Belmont in less than 2:27 since 2000. The next closest since then was Birdstone in 2004, and he needed 2:27.50 to finish the race.
Longest Odds To Win the Belmont Stakes
|Year ||Horse ||Odds|
Upsets in the Belmont Stakes have certainly been a lot more frequent in recent years than in the past, and there have been some massive upsets in that mix. Sarava pulled off the upset of all upsets when he cashed in at a whopping price of 70 to 1 in 2002, ending the Triple Crown bid of War Emblem. He's one of the three who have ever won this race at a price of 50 to 1 or better.
Most Jockey Wins in Belmont Stakes History
|Jockey ||Belmont Stakes Wins ||Years Won|
|Jim McLaughlin||6||1882, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1888|
|Eddie Arcaro||6||1941, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1952, 1955|
|Earl Sande||5||1921, 1923, 1924, 1927, 1930|
|Bill Shoemaker||5||1957, 1959, 1962, 1967, 1975|
It really shouldn't be shocking that the old time jockeys are the ones who have won the Belmont Stakes most often. The record of six held by Eddie Arcaro and Jim McLaughlin will probably never be touched again. The only man who is even halfway there and is still competitively racing is Gary Stevens, and at this point in his career, he's not sticking around long enough to win this race three more times. It's a real feat to win this race just once though, and any jockey who has his name in the list of Belmont Stakes winners should be celebrated.
Most Trainer Wins in Belmont Stakes History
|Trainer ||Belmont Stakes Wins ||Years Won|
|James G. Rowe Sr.||8||1883, 1884, 1901, 1904, 1908, 1910, 1913, 1931|
|Sam Hildreth||7||1899, 1909, 1916, 1917, 1921, 1923, 1924|
|Jim Fitzsimmons||6||1930, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1939, 1955|
|Woody Stephens||5||1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986|
|Max Hirsch||4||1928, 1946, 1950, 1954|
|D. Wayne Lukas||4||1994, 1995, 1996, 2000|
|R. Wyndham Walden||4||1878, 1880, 1881, 1898|
The greatest run in the history of any of the Triple Crown races for trainers came from 1982 through 1986 when the great Woody Stephens trained five consecutive winners at the Belmont Stakes. Stephens immediately became one of the best trainers in NYRA history, and no one will ever touch five straight Belmont Stakes victories ever again.
James G. Rowe Sr.'s record of eight Belmont victories will very likely also never be touched. D. Wayne Lukas is at the very end of his career, and he only has four triumphs in the Belmont, and each of the last nine trainers to win the third leg of the Triple Crown were different.
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2017 Belmont Stakes Contenders