The Belmont Stakes, the final and most demanding leg of the Triple Crown, is named after August Belmont who had been a leading banker and racing man of the 19th century. He was also the first President of the Jockey Club in 1867. In 1869, August Belmont took first and second money with his own Fenian and Glenelg.
The Belmont Stakes was run at Jerome Park from 1867 to 1889; at Morris Park from 1890 to 1904; at Aqueduct from 1963 to 1967. Not run in 1911 and 1912. Run at a mile and five furlongs from 1867 to 1873; a mile and a quarter in 1890, 1891, 1892, 1895, 1904 and 1905; a mile and a furlong in 1893 and 1894; a mile and three furlongs from 1896 to 1903 and from 1906 to 1925. No time taken in 1907 and 1908. Run as a Handicap Stakes in 1895 and in 1913. The value for the 1987, 1988 and 1992 winners includes the $1,000,000 Triple Crown point system bonus.
Secretariat’s 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes established the world record for a mile and a half on dirt at 2:24. With his win in the Belmont, he became the ninth horse to capture the Triple Crown.
Twenty-nine horses have been eligible to win the Triple Crown coming into the Belmont Stakes and eleven have succeeded. In six recent runnings, horses that won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, Charismatic in 1999, War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in 2003 and Smarty Jones in 2004) were denied racing immortality in the Belmont Stakes. Racing has not seen a Triple Crown champion since 1978, when Affirmed swept the three-race series.
A crowd of 120,139, the largest in New York Racing history, attended the 2004 running, hoping to see Smarty Jones become Racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner. Birdstone won; Smarty Jones finished second.
Funny Cide, a New York-bred, finished third in his 2003 Triple Crown attempt. Empire Maker won that 2003 Belmont Stakes.
In 2007, 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.