5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Belmont Stakes
On Saturday, June 9, the Belmont Stakes–the third and final leg of the Triple Crown–will take place at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY. The race’s 150th running will feature the iconic one-and-a-half-mile dirt track and will offer a $1.5 million purse, including a first-place prize of $800,000.
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The Belmont has been one of the world’s most prestigious Thoroughbred races for a century and a half, which has led to a lot of historic moments. Let’s take a look at a few things you may not know about this race.
Secretariat Holds the Belmont Stakes All-Time Record
It’s a pretty well-known fact that in 1973, Secretariat won the prestigious Triple Crown, soundly defeating every other horse at Belmont. However, he did it in such amazing fashion, and with such speed, that he holds the mile-and-a-half stakes record to this day. With a time of 2:24 on the 12-furlong track, his 1973 performance is still regarded as one of the greatest races of all time. There’s even a statue at Belmont Park commemorating his amazing run.
The Toughest Test of the Triple Crown
Other than its actual name, the Belmont is known as the “Run for the Carnations” because of the carnation blanket that is draped over the winning horse. However, it’s even better known as the “Test of the Champion” thanks to its reputation as the longest and toughest Triple Crown race.
Drink of Choice
If you’re over 21, you of course know that each leg of the Triple Crown has its own official drink. The Preakness has the Black-eyed Susan, named after the flowers used to make the blanket that drapes over the winning horse. The Kentucky Derby has the mint julep, which has served as the tradition drink of Churchill Downs for nearly a century.
The Belmont has had quite a few official drinks over its lengthy history. Currently, the drink of choice is known as the Belmont Jewel. It includes Woodford Reserve bourbon, lemonade, pomegranate juice and orange zest. It’s definitely a refreshing option during the summer afternoon at the race track.
Don’t Count Out the Under
Year after year this race features some of the world’s best three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. But just like in any sporting event or race, there are favorites and underdogs. The 2002 Belmont featured the biggest upset in history. At 70.25-to-1 odds, Sarava snuffed out War Emblem’s bid for the Triple Crown and became the highest paying winner in the race’s history. At those odds, Sarava paid out $142.50 on just a $2 bet.
The moral of that story is that, if you are a betting individual, maybe place a small wager or two on the underdogs. Do it wisely and responsibly, of course.
Carnations, Carnations, Carnations
While many traditions at the Belmont–including the official drink–have changed over time, the one tradition that’s been a constant is the blanket of carnations draped over the winning horse. This blanket is made up of over 700 carnations and weighs in at 40 pounds. The process of making this beautiful blanket takes more than five hours.
The Belmont is always such an exciting event. If you’ve never witnessed this race in person, we suggest that you get to the 150th running of it this summer. You can find tickets to this, and the other Triple Crown events, on your SeatGeek app. And, as always, keep checking TBA for more sports and event news.