Track & Traditions
The Belmont Stakes is named after August Belmont Sr., a leading banker and racing man of the 19th century. His son, August Jr. inherited his father’s vast banking fortune and an avid interest in racing. A scholar of bloodlines, August Jr. ranked amongst the world’s best breeders; champions like Man O’War, Tracery and Hourless passed through his stables. He was chairman of the Jockey Club for 30 years, founder of Sheepshead Bay and Belmont Park tracks and head of New York’s first Racing Commission.
Get Started with Fast Facts
- The Belmont Stakes, first run in 1867, is the oldest of the Triple Crown events, and one of the oldest stakes races in North America.
- The White Pine, estimated to be about 200 years old, in Belmont Park’s paddock dates back to the original parcel of land on which Belmont Park was built. The pine became part Belmont Park’s logo when the new grandstand was constructed in 1968.
- The first post parade in the United States—wherein the horses walk sequentially before the crowd—was prior to the 1871 Belmont Stakes race.
- The 1921 Belmont was the first to be run in the counter-clockwise direction.
The late Paul Moran served as Newsday's racing writer for over twenty years. Moran won a pair of Eclipse Awards for his work, honoring his work as the year's best. His piece on the history of Belmont Park is a loving encapsulation of a sport and facility he adored.
"The heart of American racing, more than a century old, beats hard against the western edge of New York City, a modern-day Circus Maximus that became the nation’s most important racing venue on the day it opened and remains without peer." - Paul Moran (Read More)
Love & Luck
White carnations represent love and luck, and they are the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. It takes about 700 carnations to create the 40-pound blanket which is draped over the winner. NYRA florist Tony Green and his team glue each flower in staggered rows to seven yards of green velvet cloth, folded and sewn to give it the heft to shape and support the carnations. It takes Green about five hours to make the blanket on race day. He also makes one for the Secretariat statue in Belmont’s paddock.
Representing Racing's Roots
The Belmont Stakes trophy is a Tiffany-made silver bowl, with cover, 18 inches high, 15 inches across and 14 inches at the base. Atop the cover is a silver figure of Fenian, winner of the third running of the Belmont Stakes in 1869. The bowl is supported by three horses representing the three foundation thoroughbreds--Eclipse, Herod and Matchem. The trophy, a solid silver bowl originally crafted by Tiffany's, was presented by the Belmont family as a perpetual award for the Belmont Stakes in 1926. It was the trophy August Belmont's Fenian won in 1869 and had remained with the Belmont family since that time. The winning owner is given the option of keeping the trophy for the year their horse reigns as Belmont champion.