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As the final leg of the famed Triple Crown of horse racing, the Belmont Stakes is one of the most exciting and fascinating races on the horse racing calendar.
This year is 151st running of the race, which makes the Belmont Stakes the longest running of the Triple Crown events, going back to 1867.
In 2019, as many as 12 horses entered the race. Will one of the 12 be heading toward the Triple Crown for the 2020 event?
This article is split into the following sections to help you gain insight into this iconic race:
If you want to bet on the big race, there are several options available.
The most straightforward option of all is to place your bet online. Sticking to a registered and legal horse betting site within the US is your safest and best option.
The Belmont Stakes is one of the most interesting races on the calendar when it comes to betting on horses.
The race offers a nice mix of horses that might have run in one, or even both of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, while others will be lining up for the first time in a Triple Crown event. If a horse is entering the race with a chance of winning the Triple Crown, it will rightly be favorite for the race, as was the case when the two most recent Crown winners lined up (Justify of 2018, and American Pharaoh of 2015).
|Post Position||Horse||Jockey||Current Odds|
|TBA||War of Will||Tyler Gaffalione||2/1|
|TBA||Plus Que Parfait||TBA||10/1|
|TBA||Master Fencer||Julien Leparoux||11/1|
|TBA||Intrepid Heart||John Velazquez||12/1|
|TBA||Tax||Irad Ortiz Jr.||16/1|
|TBA||Sir Winston||Joel Rosario||16/1|
|TBA||Bourbon War||Mike Smith||16/1|
While the two previous Triple Crown races can offer a good insight into the favorites, horses who have not featured can have an edge.
A good example was Gronkowski in 2018. While many of the leading contenders had raced hard in the previous five weeks, Gronkowski hadn’t been in a race since the end of March. The form was there, however, as the horse had won each of his previous four starts over in Europe. The consistent Gronkowski would go on to finish second at very decent odds, despite being something of an unknown quantity to Triple Crown watchers.
Look out for a similar edge in 2019.
On a race as big as the Belmont Stakes, you’ll find a range of betting opportunities available, including the standard win, place or show bets, exacta bets and the like, as well as a series of prop bets.
We look at each type as well as featuring last year’s result as an example of the expected payouts.
This wager is the most straightforward and most popular bet of all. Simply put your money down on your selection hitting that winning post first.
If you think your selection has a great chance, but want to play it a little safer, the place bet is ideal. You’ll win slightly less, but you’ll be paid if your selection finishes in the first two places.
This time around, you’ll win if your selection finishes in the first three places.
Correctly predict the first and second in the race. This wager is more challenging than the win bet, but the reward is greater.
Choose first, second and third in the correct order. Get it right, and those exacta winners will be giving you jealous glances.
If you want to go for the big one, this is the wager for you. Pick the first, second, third and fourth in the right order, and you could be looking at a mega win.
Below are the payouts (to a $2 stake on the 2018 Belmont Stakes). As you can see, racehorse Justify went off at low odds and justified his favoritism, going on to claim the race and the Triple Crown. Some of the smart money might have been on Gronkowski to place, the most significant win of all in the win/place/show returns.
Prop betting is always exciting on the Belmont Stakes and never more so when one of the runners is aiming for the illustrious Triple Crown.
Online betting sites will be out in full force, offering bets such as head to heads between the favorite and its closest rival, where the favorite will finish, the distance the race will be won by and the time of the race.
Many of these options are not available at the tracks or on the apps, but if you’re in the UK you can enjoy a wide range of props, usually.
TVG are specialists in horse racing, featuring races from all corners of the planet. The site’s main focus is the live streaming of races. So, if you’re the type of person who reads form based on the race itself, rather than on facts and figures on paper, TVG might be ideal – although it does offer facts and figures, too.
You’ll also be able to take advantage of Watch TVG, an additional streaming service available on Apple TV (fourth generation and newer), Amazon Fire TV/Fire TV Stick and Roku. This service has a monthly paid subscription model, but it’s free if you wager on the races.
If you’re one of the nearly 100,000 who makes the annual trip to Belmont Park for the race, you have it the easiest of all. Just head to a teller, place your bet and hope that you’ll be seeing the same teller later on to collect your winnings.
Many other racecourses across the US also offer simulcast wagering on the Belmont Stakes. You can visit another racetrack and enjoy the Belmont Stakes with fellow racing fans.
There are several OTB (off-track betting) shops in several states across the US.
The first-ever winner of the Belmont Stakes was Ruthless in 1867. Ruthless was the only filly in the race facing three other rivals. Being the only filly, she only had to carry 107 pounds, as opposed to 110 pounds. She eventually won the race by a head from second place DeCourcey.
In the 150-race history of the Belmont Stakes, only two other fillies triumphed: Tanya in 1905 and Rags to Riches in 2007. Only 23 fillies have ever entered the race.
Perhaps the most famous winners of the Belmont Stakes are those, who by winning, have completed the famed Triple Crown of US horse racing.
The following 13 horses have achieved that feat:
Overall, there have been 36 occasions when a horse has won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, but only the above 13 have managed to complete the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes.
The year 1993 saw a landmark victory in the Belmont Stakes when Colonial Affair hit the finishing post first. Julie Krone was aboard the winner, making her the first-ever female jockey to win a Triple Crown event.
In total, there have been nine winners of the race from outside the US. Saxon, from the UK, was the first of these invaders to win in 1874, with seven other winners from the UK and Ireland between then and 1990. The last non-US winner was Victory Gallop from Canada in 1998.
|2017||Tapwrit||Jose L. Ortiz||2:30.02|
|2016||Creator||Irad Ortiz Jr.||2:28.51|
|2015||American Pharoah||Victor Espinoza||2:26.65|
|2013||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||2:30.70|
|2012||Union Rags||John Velazquez||2:30.42|
|2011||Ruler On Ice||Kelly J. Breen||2:30:88|
|2010||Drosselmeyer||William I. Mott||2:31.57|
|2009||Summer Bird||Tim Ice||2:27.54|
|2008||DaTara||Nicholas P. Zito||2:29:65|
|2007||Rags to Riches||Todd Pletcher||2:28.74|
|2005||Afleet Alex||Tim Ritchey||2:28.75|
|2004||Birdstone||Nicholas P. Zito||2:27.50|
|2003||Empire Maker||Bobby Frankel||2:28.26|
|2001||Point Given||Bob Baffert||2:26.80|
|2000||Commendable||D. Wayne Lukas||2:31.20|
|1999||Lemon Drop Kid||Scotty Schulhofer||2:27.80|
|1998||Victory Gallop||Elliott Walden||2:29.00|
|1997||Touch Gold||David Hofmans||2:28.80|
|1995||Thunder Gulch||D. Wayne Lukas||2:32.00|
|1994||Tabasco Cat||D. Wayne Lukas||2:26.80|
|1993||Colonial Affair||Scotty Schulhofer||2:29.80|
|1992||A.P. Indy||Neil Drysdale||2:26.00|
|1990||Go And Go||Dermot Weld||2:27.20|
|1989||Easy Goer||Shug McGaughey||2:26.00|
|1988||Risen Star||Louie Roussel III||2:26.40|
|1987||Bet Twice||Jimmy Croll||2:28.20|
|1986||Danzig Connection||Woody Stephens||2:29.80|
|1985||Creme Fraiche||Woody Stephens||2:27.00|
|1982||Conquistador Cielo||Woody Stephens||2:28.20|
|1980||Temperence Hill||Joseph Cantey||2:29.80|
|1978||Affirmed dagger||Laz Barrera||2:26.80|
|1977||Seattle Slew||Billy Turner||2:29.60|
|1976||Bold Forbes||Laz Barrera||2:29.00|
|1974||Little Current||Lou Rondinello||2:29.20|
|1972||Riva Ridge||Lucien Laurin||2:28.00|
|1971||Pass Catcher||Eddie Yowell||2:30.40|
|1970||High Echelon||John Jacobs||2:34.00|
|1969||Arts And Letters||Elliott Burch||2:28.80|
|1968||Stage Door Johnny||John M. Gaver||2:27.20|
|1965||Hail To All||Eddie Yowell||2:28.40|
|1960||Celtic Ash||Tom Barry||2:29.20|
|1959||Sword Dancer||Elliott Burch||2:28.40|
|1957||Gallant Man||John Nerud||2:26.60|
|1955||Nashua||Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons||2:29.00|
|1954||High Gun||Max Hirsch||2:30.80|
|1953||Native Dancer||Bill Winfrey||2:28.60|
|1952||One Count||Oscar White||2:30.20|
|1949||Capot||John M. Gaver||2:30.20|
|1948||Citation||Horace A. "Jimmy" Jones||2:28.20|
|1944||Bounding Home||Matt Brady||2:32.20|
|1943||Count Fleet||Don Cameron||2:28.20|
|1942||Shut Out||John M. Gaver||2:29.20|
|1941||Whirlaway||Ben A. Jones||2:31.00|
|1939||Johnstown||Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons||2:29.60|
|1937||War Admiral||George Conway||2:28.60|
|1936||Granville||Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons||2:30.00|
|1935||Omaha||Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons||2:30.60|
|1934||Peace Chance||Pete Coyne||2:29.20|
|1932||Faireno||Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons||2:32.80|
|1931||Twenty Grand||James Rowe, Jr.||2:29.60|
|1930||Gallant Fox||Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons||2:31.60|
|1929||Blue Larkspur||Henry J. "Dick" Thompson||2:32.80|
|1927||Chance Shot||Pete Coyne||2:32.40|
|1925||American Flag||G.R. Tompkins||2:16.80|
|1924||Mad Play||Sam Hildreth||2:18.80|
|1922||Pillory||Thomas J. Healey||2:18.80|
|1921||Grey Lag||Sam Hildreth||2:16.80|
|1919||Sir Barton||H. Guy Bedwell||2:17.40|
|1916||Friar Rock||Sam Hildreth||2:22.00|
|1915||The Finn||E.W. Heffner||2:18.40|
|1914||Luke Mcluke||J.F. Schorr||2:20.00|
|1913||Prince Eugene||James Rowe, Sr.||2:18.00|
|1910||Sweep||James Rowe, Sr.||2:22.00|
|1909||Joe Madden||Sam Hildreth||2:21.60|
|1908||Colin||James Rowe, Sr.||N/A|
|1907||Peter Pan||James Rowe, Sr.||N/A|
|1906||Burgomaster||John W. Rogers||2:20.00|
|1905||Tanya||John W. Rogers||2:08.00|
|1904||Delhi||James Rowe, Sr.||2:06.60|
|1902||Masterman||John J. Hyland||2:22.60|
|1901||Commando||James Rowe, Sr.||2:21.00|
|1900||Ildrim||H. Eugene Leigh||2:21.25|
|1899||Jean Beraud||Sam Hildreth||2:23.00|
|1898||Bowling Brook||Robert W. Walden||2:32.00|
|1897||Scottish Chieftain||Matt Byrnes||2:23.25|
|1896||Hastings||John J. Hyland||2:24.50|
|1894||Henry Of Navarre||Byron McClelland||1:56.50|
|1888||Sir Dixon||Frank McCabe||2:40.25|
|1886||Inspector B||Frank McCabe||2:41.00|
|1884||Panique||James Rowe, Sr.||2:42.00|
|1883||George Kinney||James Rowe, Sr.||2:42.50|
|1881||Saunterer||Robert W. Walden||2:47.00|
|1880||Grenada||Robert W. Walden||2:47.00|
There is a safety limit of only 12 runners in the Belmont Stakes. Unless there is an injury or if a horse has already won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, it will be guaranteed a starting spot at the Belmont Stakes.
Career earnings are the main qualifying criteria, meaning horses who have performed well in the major races will have a place should they accept it.
Owners will have to pay $15,000 for initial entry, with another $15,000 to be paid if the horse makes the starting gate. If a horse isn’t registered for the Triple Crown races by late January, owners will have to pay an additional $75,000 for the privilege of entering.
In an ideal world, if there are different winners of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, they’ll meet at the Belmont Stakes for the unofficial title of the best 3-year-old in racing.
Upon entering, colts and geldings will carry a weight of 126 pounds, while if a filly does enter the race, they’ll carry a weight of 121 pounds.
In 1866, the Jerome Park Racetrack was built in the Bronx by stock market speculator Leonard Jerome and financed by August Belmont Sr., who would lend his name to the track.
The first race, won by filly Ruthless, took place the following year and the race would continue at Jerome Park until 1890. Nearby Morris Park would host the race until 1905. Aside from a move to Aqueduct between 1963 and 1967, the Belmont Stakes has been run at Belmont Park every year since.
In 1911 and 1912, anti-gambling legislation in the state of New York saw the race canceled, but it returned in 1913 and has been running a race every year since.
The Belmont Stakes is the longest of the Triple Crown races. At 1.5 miles, it offers more of a test of endurance than the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes – the perfect race to test the all-round ability of a potential Triple Crown winner.
The nickname, the Test of the Champion, was duly given to the race.
The early days of the race were even longer, with the race run more than 1 5/8 miles, while shorter distances were experimented with at the end of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. The 1.5 miles distance was finally settled upon in 1926.
Another nickname for the race is the Race for the Carnations.
The winning horse is draped with a blanket of white carnations, which is a similar tradition to both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
Despite the long history of the race, some of the oldest traditions have been subject to change in recent years: The Sideways of New York being outed as the post-parade song by Frank Sinatra’s New York in 1997 (with a one-year experiment of using Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind in 2010, before reverting to Sinatra in 2011).
Secretariat dominated the Triple Crown in 1973.
Having won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in record times (times that still hold to this day), the Penny Chenery trained horse was the rightful hot favorite for the Belmont Stakes. The early part of the race saw Secretariat and great rival Sham draw away from the field to make it a match, but then Secretariat made his move, pulling away from Sham with relative ease on the back straight.
You can hear the wonder in the race commentator’s voice when he states, “Secretariat by 12, Secretariat by 14.” The other three runners would catch Sham, but the leader would continue to pull away, winning the Belmont by a staggering 31 lengths, which is described by many as the greatest performance in the history of horse racing.
Unsurprisingly, Secretariat ran the fastest time in the history of the Belmont Stakes, too, a time that also stands to this day.
Occasionally, you find a year when two superstar horses come along at once. In any other year, Alydar might have won the Triple Crown himself, but the incredible Affirmed stood in his way.
After great tussles in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, which both saw Affirmed come out the victor, they faced each other again. The two came into the home straight with Affirmed a nose in front, but then Alydar took the lead – this was as close as you could get in a race. The final 100 yards saw Affirmed manage to get up again, winning by the smallest of margins as they crossed the line together.
An incredible race and a fitting way for Affirmed to tie up the Triple Crown.
Before 2007, only two fillies had ever won the Belmont Stakes, but it was clear after the dominating victory in the Kentucky Oaks that Rags to Riches was something special.
Could they take on the men and win the Belmont? Things didn’t look good when she stumbled at the start, but Rags to Riches soon recovered, and it would eventually become a head to head with Preakness Stakes winner Curlin as they entered the stretch. Curlin was on the inside and Rags to Riches was on the outside.
“These two in a battle of the sexes in the Belmont Stakes” shouted the commentator excitedly.
The filly managed to get her head in front and, in a close finish, would run out the victor.
The Belmont Stakes takes place annually on the first or second Saturday in June. In 2020, the race will take place on Saturday, June 6, three weeks after the running of the Preakness Stakes and five weeks after the Kentucky Derby.
There is an upper limit of 12 runners in the Belmont Stakes, although it’s unusual to find a full field of 12 horses.
In 2018, for example, there were just 10 runners in the race, and there were 11 runners in 2017. In 1973, Secretariat faced four rivals in the Belmont Stakes. This lower limit ensures that the Belmont Stakes is potentially the best of the Triple Crown races in terms of quality from top to bottom.
In 2019, there will be a total prize of $1.5 million for the Belmont Stakes. The winning connections will receive a payday of $800,000, with prize money being paid out to all of the horses down to eighth place in the race.
In 2019, the Belmont Stakes will start at 6.30 p.m. EST. Television coverage of the event will begin at 5 p.m. EST on NBC.
There are several different levels at which you can buy tickets for the Belmont Stakes. At the top end of the spectrum, there is a variety of ticket packages ensuring entry into the Platinum, Gold and Bronze clubhouses, as well as the Garden Terrace and Champagne Room.
Each of these offers hospitality, too, and range from $699 to $1,299. At this premium level, box seating is also available starting at $425.
Visitors to Belmont can gain general admission starting at $80, which includes a wristband for four 12-ounce beers and water, and a trackside view of the final turn. The GA crowd can enjoy food trucks and a live DJ, too.
Reserved seating starts at $70, where you can enjoy the best views of the finish line, with access to the backyard entertainment and paddock views.
Secretariat set the fastest time in the history of the race in 1973, with a time of exactly 2:24 (timing in this era was divided into fifths of a second). No other horse in the history of the race (at 1.5 miles) has run below 2:26.
The fastest winner in the 21st century was Point Given in 2001, with a time of 2:26.56.
There is little doubt that the most dominant jockey in the early days of the race was Jim McLaughlin with an incredible six wins in seven races between 1882 and 1888. He achieved the three-peat twice – 1882-1884 and 1886-1888.
Eddie Arcaro matched the six wins in 1955; his wins spread out over 15 years starting in 1941.
The most successful trainer in the history of the Belmont Stakes is James G. Rowe Sr., who held an incredible eight wins. He first won in 1893, with his final success in the race coming in 1913. He also won the race twice as a jockey.