Belmont Park still echoes with adulation for the past horses who've been embraced by racing fans. But it is also a refuge for people drawn to horses as well as the place where the sport's past and present intersect to create a thrilling future.
- Geldings were allowed to compete in the race from its inaugural running in 1867 to 1918, when they were barred from the race until 1957. Creme Fraiche was the first gelding to win the Belmont Stakes in 1985.
- Some 23 fillies have competed. In 2007, Rags to Riches became the third to win and first in 102 years to take the 1 1/2 mile "Test of the Champion."
- Nine horses bred outside the United States have won the Belmont Stakes, including thoroughbreds from England, Ireland and Canada.
- Fourteen Belmont Stakes winners have sired at least one Belmont winner; leading the list is Man o' War, who sired three subsequent winners - American Flag, Crusader and Triple Crown winner War Admiral.
Secretariat set a world record for 1 1/2 miles on the dirt when he won the 1973 Belmont in 2:24. Secretariat also holds the fastest 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile, 1 mile and 1 1/4-mile fractions in Belmont history.
146 Years of the Best
Since 1867, the inaugural running of the Belmont Stakes, 1,094 horses have started in the race. Winners have hailed from Kentucky, New York, Maryland, Texas and Montana as well as from England and Ireland, and range in color and sex.
Racing's Most Exclusive Club
The history of the Triple Crown, which is central to American racing, is written in a century of defining moments in the Belmont Stakes, including Secretariat's world record, Seattle Slew's undefeated sweep of the series, and Affirmed's survival of his rival's last onslaught. Only 12 horses have won this most rare of American sporting titles, while some 34 have been eligible to try. At Belmont Park, almost every champion of the last century has carved his or her name into the venerable stone of racing legend.
From the storied upsets of Smarty Jones, Big Brown and Real Quiet, to California Chrome's recent loss in 2014, some 23 horses have missed their shot at winning the Triple Crown. But even the close calls have made history.
The closest finishes in history were by a nose, including Victory Gallop's defeat of Real Quiet....