The Belmont Stakes is the final leg of the Triple Crown, contested at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York on the first Saturday of June. The race is named after August Belmont I, an investment banker and thoroughbred owner who was president of the American Jockey Club.
The first 23 runnings of the race were held at Jerome Park. The race was then run at Morris Park for 15 years before moving to Belmont Park in 1905. The race was run at Aqueduct from 1963 until 1967 while Belmont Park was being rebuilt.
In 1870, a jockey recorded only as “Dick,” a freed slave who later adopted the name Ed Brown, became the first African American jockey to win the race. He is still listed as “Dick” in the 2007 Thoroughbred Times Racing Almanac.
The Belmont Stakes has seen some of the most dramatic moments in all of racing. After all, it’s the final leg of the Triple Crown, which has been won 11 times, the last being Affirmed in 1978.
Secretariat ran the fastest Belmont in 1973 (2:24) and won the race by 31 lengths, capturing the Triple Crown in the most memorable Belmont in history.
The second-fasted Belmont was run by Easy Goer and A.P. Indy, a full two seconds slower than Secretariat.
In addition to the eleven Triple Crown winners, there have been plenty of near misses. Since 1997 six three-year-olds headed to Belmont Park with a chance to win the Triple Crown, and all came up short.
The closest was in 1998 when the Bob Baffert-trained Real Quiet opened up a four-length lead with a furlong to go and lost in the final jump to Victory Gallop.
Thoroughbred racing’s all-time leading female jockey, Julie Krone, became the first woman to win a Triple Crown race when she rode to victory in the Belmont Stakes aboard Colonial Affair in 1993.
James Rowe leads all trainers with eight Belmont wins. The most for an active trainer is D. Wayne Lukas with four.
Jockeys Eddie Arcaro and James McLaughlin share top honors with six wins each.
2011 Recap: “Ice” Rules in Belmont Stakes, Continues Upsets
The longshots continued in 2011 in the Triple Crown races, with Ruler On Ice, who did not participate in either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness pulling off the upset in New York.
Trained by Kelly Breen and ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., the colt got a perfect trip sitting just off the pacesetter, took over in the stretch and held off the competition late to win by ¾ of a length over Stay Thirsty, returning $51.50 for the win.
Stay Thirsty was sent off at 16/1, and the two longshots combined for a $2 exacta that returned $928.00.
Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom failed to fire and checked in sixth, while Preakness winner Shackleford carved out the early fractions and weakened to finish fifth.
Ruler on Ice 51.50 26.00 13.60
Stay Thirsty 19.40 10.80
Brilliant Speed 7.90
$2 exacta: 928.00
$2 trifecta: 8,268.00
$2 superfecta: 74,052.00