The 149 th running of the Grade
1 Belmont Stakes will be held at Belmont Park on Saturday,
June 10, with first-race post at noon. ABC-TV and ESPN will
provide live coverage of the day’s events. The final and most demanding leg
of the Triple Crown, the positioning of the horses and the
timing of the move to chase for the lead is critical.
The Last Philly to win the
Belmont Stakes - Rags to Riches lived up to
her breeding and out-gamed favored Curlin by a head to
become the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes
in 102 years and only the third Belmont Stakes winning
filly. The previous winning fillies were Ruthless in 1867
and Tanya in 1905. Nineteen other fillies had previously run
in the Belmont Stakes. With John Velazquez as her rider for
the first time, Rags to Riches also gave trainer Todd
Pletcher his first win in a Triple Crown race. Rags to
Riches completed the mile and a half trip in 2:28.74 and
paid her backers $10.60 to win.
|OLDEST TRIPLE CROWN EVENT|
The Belmont is the oldest of the Triple Crown events, predating the Preakness by six years and the Kentucky Derby by eight. The winner of the first Kentucky Derby, Aristides, ran second in the Belmont of 1875, behind Calvin.
The first running of the Belmont Stakes in 1867 at Jerome
Park took place, oddly enough, on a Thursday. At a mile and
five furlongs, the conditions included "$200 each; half forfeit,
and $1,500 added. The second to receive $300, and an English
racing saddle, made by Merry, of St. James' Street, London,
to be presented by Mr. Duncan.
OLDEST IN NORTH AMERICA
The Belmont Stakes, in addition to being the oldest of the
Triple Crown events (the Preakness was first run in 1873,
the Kentucky Derby in 1875) is the fourth oldest stakes race
in North America. The Phoenix Stakes, now run in the fall
at Keeneland as The Phoenix Breeders' Cup, was first run in
1831, the Queen's Plate in Canada had its inaugural in 1860
and the Travers in Saratoga in 1864. However, since there
were gaps in the sequence for the Travers, the Belmont is
third only to the Phoenix and Queen's Plate in total runnings.
TO MORRIS PARK
1890, the Belmont, named for August Belmont I, was moved from
Jerome Park to Morris Park, a mile and three-eighths track
located a few miles east of what is now Van Cortlandt Park
in the Bronx. The Belmont Stakes was run at Morris Park from
then until Belmont Park's opening in 1905.
RUN COUNTER-CLOCKWISE IN 1921
Grey Lag's Belmont (1921) was the first running of this prestigious
event in the counter-clockwise manner of American fashion
at Belmont Park. This 53rd running was a mile and three-eighths
over the main course. Previous renewals of the stakes at Belmont
Park were run clockwise, in accordance with English custom,
over a fish-hook course which included part of the training
track and the main dirt oval.
The first post parade in this country came in the 14th running
of the Belmont back in 1880. Until that time, the horses went
directly from paddock to post.
purse for the first running of the Belmont was $1,500 added
with a total purse of $2,500 with the winner's share that
year taken by Francis Morris' filly Ruthless.
The lowest winner's share in the history of the Belmont Stakes
was the $1,825 earned by The Finn in the 1915 running.
The 1992 edition of the Belmont was the richest running with
a total purse of $1,764,800.