Top 5 Belmont Stakes Moments of All time
The Belmont Stakes is the third leg of what is known as the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred horse racing.
Just five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and a mere three weeks following the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont wraps up horse racing's version of the college basketball's March Madness. Of course, in order to capture the coveted triple crown, a horse must win all three legs, a feat that has alluded even the best equine athletes since Affirmed accomplished the feat back in 1978.
The race takes place at the Belmont Park which is located in Elmont, New York. It was first held back in 1867 at Jerome Park Racetrack in The Bronx, but it has moved around a few times before finding its current home. Like the Preakness, this event was also held at Morris Park Racecourse for a fifteen year period. Then in 1905, Belmont Park opened up in Elmont and has hosted this illustrious event ever since that day.
The race itself is of 12 furlongs in length, takes place on dirt, and is of the left-handed variety.
Today’s purse includes a total of one-million dollars US, while $600,000 of that purse goes to the victor. It, like the Kentucky Derby, is for three year old Thoroughbreds, were Colts and Geldings weigh in at 126 pounds, and Fillies come in at 121.
This race has been dubbed “The Test of the Champion” and also “The Run for the Carnations”.
The latter term is used because upon the conclusion, the winner is blanketed in white carnations.
Like the other races, this one also has its own post-parade song. Though this one changes quite often, it has ran through “Sidewalks of New York”, the theme from "New York, New York," and the "Empire State of Mind" in recent years.
The attendance numbers for this race are very impressive as it draws numbers that are comparable with any of the other Stakes races. In fact, the only races that manage to outdraw this illustrious event, is the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Kentucky Oaks.
Now let’s take a look at the top five races of all time.
Man O’War - 1920
I’m a sucker for the triple crown winners, and this horse gets my top spot in spite of the fact that he didn’t achieve that feat. The fact that he didn’t even run in the Kentucky Derby may have something to do with that. It wasn’t how close this race was that got it on our list, it was how easily he won it that is so impressive. The son of Mahubah set two records during the Belmont Stakes --speed and margin of victory--which were 2:14.20 and 20 lengths respectively. Those are records that would stand until the next horse on this list found the way to this track.
Secretariat - 1973
Quite possibly the most famous horse of all-time. Secretariat as many know did win the triple crown, and did it in record setting fashion, shattering the track records set by Man O’War. And although "Big Red" finished the Belmont that year with a time of 2:24.00, the race was an eighth of a mile longer when he ran it and still his margin of victory was an astounding 31 lengths. Both of these are records that still stand today
Affirmed - 1978
In another epic battle between Affirmed and Alydar, this year's Belmont was also decided by a nose. While Alydar became the first horse to finish second in all three triple crown races, Affirmed became the 11th and most recent triple crown winner in yet another fantastic finish between these two.
Easy Goer - 1989
It was 11 years later after the dust finally settled between Affirmed and Alydar as another of the great rivalries between Easy Goer and Sunday Silence became headlines, as the son of Alydar prevented becoming the second horse to finish second in all three legs of the triple crown with his victory at the Belmont Stakes. Denying Sunday Silence’s place in history in the process.
Seattle Slew - 1977
Another triple crown winner on our list. Just one year before the series between Affirmed and Alydar, was the dominating year that belonged to Seattle Slew. The Belmont was his biggest win of the triple crown series at four lengths, and the triple crown only added to the legend that would culminate over the course of that season.