Typically, the Belmont Stakes is either the most anticipated jewel of the Triple Crown, or the most forgotten.
The Belmont Stakes
There is no denying the energy at the Belmont Stakes when a Triple Crown is on the line. Spectators hone in on the Derby and Preakness winner as if to send a constant stream of positive vibes as the horse approaches immortality.
There is only one question to be heard in the grandstand and at the betting window: “Will he or won’t he?”
On other hand, the atmosphere can seem to be muted if there is no Triple Crown on the line. Most casual fans only know racing for its Triple Crown, and if there is no crown to be had, they often question the point of even holding the Belmont Stakes at all.
For devoted racing fans and smart bettors, however, the Belmont is a treasure in and of itself. Here are some reasons why you should tune in to this year’s Belmont Stakes and place your bets in TwinSpires.
It Is The Oldest Triple Crown Race
The Belmont Stakes was inaugurated in 1867, six years before the Preakness and eight years before the Kentucky Derby. The Derby, Preakness, and Belmont were only linked together as the Triple Crown from the 1930s, which means that for more than six decades, the race stood on its own merit.
Unlike the Kentucky Derby, which for decades was a regional race with little reputation, the Belmont Stakes has always been a top-tier race and a major prize for three-year-olds.
The 1880 edition started the American tradition of the post parade, and for many nineteenth and early twentieth-century stars, the Belmont Stakes was the first major target for a promising sophomore horse. The most renowned early winners of the Belmont Stakes include Spendthrift, Hastings, Commando, the undefeated champion Colin, and the immortal Man o’War.
It Is The Longest Grade I Race On Dirt
Years ago, marathons were much more common in horse racing.
When the Belmont Stakes began, the racing world was in the process of phasing out “heat racing,” in which horses ran against each other in two or three heats of up to four miles each, usually only hours apart. The races wore hard on horses and jockeys, and they required a keen sense of pace from both athletes.
The modern style was referred to as “dash racing,” in which horses would go all out over one single heat. However, for the next century, many of those races still had distances that modern racing fans would consider extreme.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup was run at a distance of two miles from 1920 until 1975, and important races such as the Brooklyn Handicap, the Saratoga Cup, and the Woodward Stakes were all, at some point, run at 1 ½ miles or longer.
As speed and precocity became more valued inbreeding, these races were either cut down or eliminated entirely. Now the Belmont Stakes is likely the only race in which a dirt horse will go longer than 1 ¼ miles, and as such you’ll witness tactics and stamina at the Belmont that you will not see in any other race in America.
It Features A Kentucky Derby Rematch
Rich Strike took the entire racing world by surprise when he scooted up the rail at 80-1 to land the Run for the Roses. When Eric Reed withdrew Rich Strike from the Preakness, he indicated that he wanted to focus on the Belmont Stakes as a target for his horse.
The Belmont is fast approaching, and many wonder whether lightning can strike twice. While Preakness winner Early Voting and Epicenter, who finished second in both the Derby and the Preakness, are not likely to make the race. He will be facing Mo Donegal, the Derby fourth-place finisher who had previously defeated Early Voting in the Grade I Wood Memorial. Other top contenders include Creative Minister, who was third in the Preakness; Wood Memorial third Skippylongstocking; and Grade II Peter Pan Stakes winner We the People.