Belmont Stakes Cheat Sheet
This Saturday marks the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, NY and whether you’re a fan of horse-racing or not, this one is notable because there’s a potential Triple Crown in play.
The longest of the three races, at 1.5 miles, means it’s often known as “The Test of the Champion” and also “The Run for Carnations” due to the blanket of carnations draped over the winner, similar to the blankets of flowers used at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. As with both of those races, 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat holds the record for fastest time at 2:24.
The race was first run in 1867 in the Bronx, New York and then moved to Belmont Park on Long Island in 1905, where it was named after August Belmont, a wealthy New York financier.
The Triple Crown term was first used in 1930 although the first winner was considered to be Sir Barton in 1919 and the term is used retroactively to describe his victories.
Justify, winner of both those races this year, will try and clinch the Triple Crown, the first since American Pharoah in 2015. He would be the 13th horse to do so. Many horses have won the first two Triple Crown races (34 to be exact), only to lose at Belmont but the last winner of all three has the same trainer, Bob Baffert, as Justify. Reminder: Justify broke the 136-year-old “Curse of Apollo” when he won the Kentucky Derby after not racing as a two-year-old.
What are his chances? There are horses in this race who are fresher, having not raced in the previous ones but Justify is still the favorite. Audible was considered some of his toughest competition but was pulled from the race to rest him for the summer races...conveniently he’s owned by the same people as Justify who probably don’t want him to pull the potentially Triple Crown out of their grasp. Justify’s breeding rights have already reportedly been sold for $60 million and if he wins the Triple Crown, there’s a $25 million bonus.