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The 151st running of the $1,500,000 Belmont Stakes (Grade I), is the third jewel of the Triple Crown, set for Saturday, June 8, 2019 at historic Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
Mark Casse will have a chance to notch his second in three weeks as the War Front colt highlights an accomplished 10-horse field in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park.
The culmination of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival featuring 18 total stakes, including 15 graded contests from June 6-8, the 151st running of the "Test of the Champion" is carded as Race 11 on a packed 13-race card that includes eight Grade 1 races and purses totaling more than $9 million. NBCSN will have live coverage from 2:30-4 p.m. Eastern with NBC broadcasting from 4-7 p.m., including the Belmont Stakes with an approximate post time of 6:35 p.m.
Casse, a six-time Sovereign Award winner for Outstanding Trainer in Canada who won his first race in 1979, has two contenders for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, with Tracy Farmer's Sir Winston joining War of Will in the starting gate.
"I learned a long time ago to not think about that kind of stuff," Casse said about his bid to make history. "Right now, the only thing I'm focusing on is getting there. "There's so many variables and so many things that can happen, that I just focus on the future. If Sir Winston wins, and people ask me what I'm thinking about, I'll be thinking about 'how can we win the Travers?' Right now, we just focus day-to-day. After this morning, I couldn't be happier."
War of Will earned a personal-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure, rallying in the final furlong for a 1 ¼-length score in the Preakness. Looking to become the 102nd all-time Belmont winner bred in Kentucky, War of Will enters with wins in four of his last six starts, including back-to-back victories in the Grade 3 LeComte and Grade 2 Risen Star this winter at Fair Grounds that set him up for a Kentucky Derby start, where he placed seventh.
"I think he's put on 40-50 pounds and that's what we've been looking for," Casse said about his post-Preakness weight gain. "We kind of know everyone in the field by now. I tend to just worry about my horses and not anybody else's. If the pace is slow, he'll probably be on the lead. If it's quick, hopefully he'll sit behind the pacesetters."
The 2-1 second choice, War of Will, the only horse to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown this year, retains the services of jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who won his first Triple Crown race with the Preakness victory. The duo will break from post 9.
War of Will can become the first horse since Afleet Alex in 2005 to complete the Preakness-Belmont double, a feat accomplished by just 12 horses, starting with Cloverbrook in 1877 [excluding the 13 Triple Crown winners]. Among that dozen includes all-time greats Man o' War in 1920, Native Dancer in 1953, Nashua in 1955 and Damascus in 1967.
"Over the years, one of the things that's made Belmont so tough is when the Derby and Preakness winners are here and get beat, it's usually by a Belmont-based horse. There's an advantage to it. But, I've had this since the beginning, that great horses can win when things aren't perfect. Is it ideal? No. Can he win? Absolutely," Casse said.
War of Will's stablemate, Sir Winston, enters with momentum following a runner-up finish to Global Campaign in the Grade 3 Peter Pan, the traditional local prep for the Belmont, on May 11 at 1 1/8 miles on Big Sandy.
The Awesome Again colt earned a 100 Beyer for that effort, improving off a seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Blue Grass on April 6 at Keeneland. Listed at 12-1 odds, Sir Winston drew post 7 with Joel Rosario set to ride.
"I thought it was extremely encouraging," Casse said of Sir Winston, who schooled in the Belmont paddock with War of Will Tuesday morning. "If the pace were to get pretty hot, it's going to help Sir Winston, because he's truly a mile-and-a-half horse. One thing about it; the pace won't likely be as fast, so he probably won't come as far out of it. But we're not going to take him out of his way. Joel will let him be comfortable, and he'll come running."
Juddmonte Farms' Tacitus will look to give Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott a chance to accomplish a rare feat and win two legs of the Triple Crown with different horses. The Mott-trained Country House was placed first in the Kentucky Derby following Maximum Security's disqualification, which also moved Tacitus up from fourth to third to give Mott two-thirds of the trifecta.
Tacitus, who won the Grade 2 Wood Memorial in April at Aqueduct Racetrack, skipped the Preakness to ready for the grueling Belmont Stakes distance. The well-rested Kentucky homebred will attempt to make Mott the first trainer since fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas to win two Classics with multiple horses. Lukas won the 1996 Kentucky Derby with Grindstone and the Belmont with Editor's Note, which came a year after Lukas trained Derby and Belmont-winner Thunder Gulch and Preakness winner Timber Country.
"Had Tacitus won the Kentucky Derby, I suppose we would have taken a chance at the Preakness, but we didn't feel like we wanted to run him back in two weeks," Mott said.
Instilled as the 9-5 morning-line favorite, Tacitus is one of three Tapit colts in the Belmont field, along with Bourbon War and Intrepid Heart. Tapit has sired three of the last five Belmont winners.
Tacitus, who rallied from 16th at the half-mile mark in the Derby, will look for a smoother trip in the Belmont.
"He got back quite a ways, back in the pack," Mott said of the trip at Churchill Downs. "The way the track was and traffic, he didn't get stopped but he had to keep looking for room. With the big field, he had to keep changing direction and changing course - go inside, go outside - so it wasn't smooth, he had to alter course. That being said, he came running and finished well at the end.
"Generally, going a mile and a half they won't be further back," he added. "If anything, we will be closer. We hope he goes a good mile and a half."
Jose Ortiz will be in the irons from post 10.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will have a pair of entrants looking to give him his fourth career Belmont Stakes win. Pletcher, who won his first in 2007 with filly Rags to Riches and also in 2012 with Palace Malice and 2017 with Tapwrit, will send out 10-1 Intrepid Heart and 15-1 Spinoff.
Owned by Lawan and Robert Low, the lightly raced Intrepid Heart won his first two starts before graduating to stakes company, running third in the Peter Pan.
Stabled at Belmont, Intrepid Heart has breezed twice on the main track since that race, including an official five-furlong work in 1:00.92 on Saturday. Pletcher said he was pleased by his gallop out, which he clocked in 1:38 3/5.
"We were pleased by the work and his gallop-out," Pletcher said. "He appears to be moving very well."
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will pilot Intrepid Heart from post 8.
Fellow Pletcher trainee Spinoff is coming off his only off-the-board appearance, running second-to-last in the Kentucky Derby. The runner-up in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 23 at Fair Grounds will pick up the services of Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano from post 6.
Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable's Bourbon War will look to bounce back from an eighth-place finish in the Preakness. Trainer Mark Hennig said the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth runner-up in March at Gulfstream was feisty after the Triple Crown's middle jewel, and said he is looking for an improved effort as he makes his Belmont debut.
"He was not tired at all after the race," Hennig said. "I don't know how much running he actually did. I held him for a bath after the race and he bit me in the stomach and tore my shirt. He was actually angry after the Preakness."
For the Belmont, Hennig said Bourbon War will have the blinkers removed. He had added the equipment after Bourbon War's fourth-place effort behind Maximum Security, Bodexpress and Code of Honor in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30.
Hall of Famer and three-time Belmont winner Mike Smith, who a year ago made history aboard the Triple Crown-winning Justify, will return to Belmont Park to ride, breaking from post 5 at 12-1.
"Put a line through the Preakness? Hopefully, that's the right thing to do," Hennig said.
Katsumi Yoshizawa's homebred Master Fenceradds international intrigue to the race in looking to become the first Japanese horse to capture an American Triple Crown race.
Trained by 48-year-old former jockey Koichi Tsunoda, Master Fencer finished a rail-rallying seventh in the Derby and was elevated to sixth with the disqualification of Maximum Security.
He earned his spot in the starting gate for the "Run for the Roses" by accumulating 19 points on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby following fast-closing second in the $310,830 Fukuryu at Nakayama Racecourse in March and a fourth-place effort in the $330,506 Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse in February.
Should he win, Master Fencer will collect a $1 million bonus offered by NYRA to a Japanese-based winner of the Belmont Stakes.
Julien Leparoux will ride Master Fencer, at odds of 8-1, from post 3.
Preakness runner-up Everfast, owned by Calumet Farm, has not won since his victorious career debut in August but has twice finished second in graded stakes, including one length behind Harvey Wallbanger in the Grade 2 Holy Bull in February at Gulfstream.
Trained by Dale Romans, Everfast at 12-1, drew post 2 with Luis Saez set to ride.
"I would say going a mile-and-a-half, any horse can be where they want. They're going to be going so slowly early on," Romans said. "I just felt like in the Preakness, even though he was coming off of a sprint, he'd have a strong finishing kick and it looked like a lot of speed in the race. But I'll let the jockey figure it out in the Belmont.
"In the Belmont, by the time they get to the eighth pole, they are all tired," he added. "It is hard for a horse to kick. So, I would think he would be laying a little bit closer."
A pair of contenders familiar to New York racing fans complete the field, with Joevia giving trainer Gregory Sacco his first career starter in an American Classic. After being disqualified and placed 11th in the Wood Memorial, Joevia rebounded to win the Long Branch on May 12 at Monmouth Park. The Shanghai Bobby colt, at odds of 30-1, will have a new rider in Jose Lezcano, breaking from the inside post.
Tax, the Wood Memorial runner-up, will be making his first start since placing 14th in the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Danny Gargan, the winner of the Grade 3 Withers on February 2 at Aqueduct will make his first career start at Belmont, drawing post 4 at 15-1 odds with Irad Ortiz, Jr., who won the 2016 Belmont on Creator, taking the call.
Gary Barber's War of Will exited his 1 ¼-length victory over the late-running Everfast in Saturday's144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course in good order and will run in the Belmont Stakes (G1) June 8 at Belmont Park if the colt continues to show all the right signs, trainer Mark Casse said Sunday morning.
"I would say there's an extremely good shot he'll be there," Casse said of the 1 ½-mile third leg of the Triple Crown. "Now it's just a matter of him saying he doesn't want to go, that would be if he was lethargic or something in training.
"There are only three Triple Crown races; they're pretty important. I think if you can do it, you should do it," he added. "The Belmont is the Belmont. It's the third leg of the Triple Crown. Who doesn't want to win it?"
War of Will, who gave Casse, Barber and jockey Tyler Gaffalione their first victories in a Triple Crown race, could be the only horse to run in all three spring classics for 3-year-olds. The son of War Front was at the center of the potentially catastrophic entanglement in the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 4 when first-place finisher Maximum Security came out into War of Will's path. War of Will finished eighth and was moved up to seventh upon Maximum Security's disqualification to 17th that awarded the victory to second-place finisher Country House.
"It would just show he's tough and able to overcome things," Casse said of War of Will should he compete in all three Triple Crown races. "We saw yesterday that the Derby was very, very trying. I was worried about that with him. He was a little foot sore afterwards.
"The pace was extremely hot [in the Preakness] and you saw two deep closers come [to be second and third]. I didn't realize how deep. They were behind Bodexpress, [who continued to run after unseating jockey John Velazquez at the start]. For our horse to continue, he was pretty close to the pace and it was hot," he added. "I liked the fact that after the race, when they were galloping out, he took off again. He was not going to let them go by."
Of the race, Casse said, "I knew we were doing well and I liked where we were. About maybe the three-eighths pole, I started thinking, `Oh, dear, not again,' because he was wanting to go somewhere and he had nowhere to go. I didn't get excited until it opened up. I was hoping the leader would come off the rail a little bit. And when he did, Tyler snuck up in there a little bit. I don't know. I haven't seen it. But NBC had a camera on me and we gave them a lot to see, I can promise you that."
Casse reflected on growing up on a farm in Indiana when "Sundays were awful, because there was no Daily Racing Form. The Racing Forms were delivered to our farm, and everybody would drive from other places and pick them up. You know how a dog waits for its owner to come? I would sit and I would wait for the car to bring the Racing Form. Then I'd run over and read it from top to bottom - and how could you not know about the Preakness? I didn't even let that bother me about the Derby horse (Maximum Security or adjudged winner Country House) not being here and this and that. It's the Preakness. And we can now say we won it."
The trainer said his phone was blowing up with congratulatory messages.
"Between texts and emails, I had more than 400, and I always answer everybody," he said. "I've only answered about 250 so far, so I'm still working on that. And I got a very nice email from Gary West," the owner Maximum Security, "which was very nice, congratulating Gary (Barber) and I."
Casse reiterated his post-Derby sentiments that it was fortunate that a horse as athletic as War of Will was the one who nearly clipped heels with Maximum Security because a less agile horse might have fallen.
"We should be thankful," he said. "I'm not sure everybody would have survived that, the bumping and the contact. But he's very athletic."
Casse had planned to ship out War of Will Sunday morning, but changed it to Monday morning. He will go to Keeneland, where Casse's division is overseen by assistant trainer David Carroll, who also had War of Will all winter at the Fair Grounds.
War of Will won the Fair Grounds' Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) before finishing ninth in the Louisiana Derby, a race in which he lost his action shortly after the break and never was a threat. But Casse and his team never lost confidence in the War Front colt, who earned $990,000 and now has made $1,491,569 off a 4-1-1 record in 10 starts.
Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable's Bourbon War, trained by Mark Hennig, will make his next start in the Grade 1 $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 8.
Bred in Kentucky by Conquest Stables, Bourbon War is the first foal out of Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory and was purchased for $410,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November Mixed Sale.
Bourbon War, working without blinkers, breezed a half-mile over the Belmont Park main track in 48.74 seconds on Friday morning.
"I was happy with him. I thought he did well, looked sharp and galloped out strong," Hennig said.
Bourbon War graduated at Aqueduct Racetrack in November ahead of a rallying fourth in the Grade 2 Remsen to close out his 2-year-old season.
The well-bred bay finished a close second to Code of Honor in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and a closing fourth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby won by Maximum Security. Bourbon War failed to fire last out when eighth in the Grade 1 Preakness.
Hall of Famer Mike Smith, a three-time Belmont winner, including last year with Triple Crown-champion Justify, will be aboard Bourbon War for the first time.
Also on the work tab for Hennig was three-time graded stakes placed Semper Sententiae, who went a half-mile in 48.87 in preparation for the Grade 2 $600,000 New York on Friday, June 7.
Owned by John O'Connor, the 4-year-old gray or roan daughter of The Factor enters the 1 1/4-mile event over the inner turf off a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Sheepshead Bay behind Santa Monica, who also is probable for the New York.
Finishing in the money in seven of her eight career starts, Semper Sententiae seeks her first win since breaking her maiden second time out, going the New York's 1 ¼ mile distance over the inner turf last September.
Hennig also worked Courtlandt Farm's Carlino on Friday morning. The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid went a half-mile in 51.18 and is bound for the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban on July 6. He was sixth in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special last out.
Hennig will also saddle Grade 3-winner Strike Power in the Grade 2, $250,000 True North as part of a busy Belmont Stakes Racing Festival for the New York-based conditioner.
** Update May 29 - Owendale, a rallying third in the G1 Preakness, will skip the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes **
Calumet Farm's Everfast, who made an impressive late run along the rail to finish second in Saturday's Preakness, was headed back to trainer Dale Romans' Churchill Downs stable Sunday morning.
The Belmont Stakes will be taken under serious consideration for the son of Take Charge Indy, Romans said after Everfast nosed out Owendale for second money Saturday.
Brad Cox, who finished third with Owendale and fourth with Warrior's Charge in the trainer's Triple Crown debut, said Owendale could possibly run in the Belmont Stakes. Owendale, winner of Keeneland's Lexington (G3) in his prior start, put in a late wide rally to finish 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Warrior's Charge, who lost by a total of 2 ½ lengths after setting a strong pace.
Owendale and Warrior's Charge were scheduled to van back to Churchill Downs on Sunday.
"They both cooled out fine, actually pretty quick too, considering to ask them to do something they'd never done before, going that far," Cox said. "Warrior's Charge, as fast as he went early, he looked great his morning. His energy is good. Same thing with Owendale.
"Warrior's Charge, we wouldn't even consider the Belmont with him, obviously," he said. "The mile and a half is a touch far. Owendale, we'll think about it. We'll see how he's moving. It would have a lot to do with who's running, and, first of all, how he's doing. It's a lot back in three weeks. But it's a big purse and it's a prestigious race, and these horses only get one shot in their 3-year-old year."
Warrior's Charge blitzed the first quarter-mile in 22.50 seconds under Javier Castellano before getting a half-mile in 46.16 seconds and six furlongs in 1:10.56. War of Will came up the rail to take the lead, reaching the mile in 1:35.48 and 1 3/16 miles in 1:54.34. Cox said that he thought he had a chance to win when the field turned for home.
"I thought, `Warrior's Charge is doing exactly what I thought: He's going to take them a long way,' and he continued on," he said. "Then War of Will slipped up on the inside and I thought, `OK, he's got the best of us,' and I turned my attention to Owendale and thought for a second, `OK, he's got a shot to get there.' Then I saw the pink silks [of War of Will owner Gary Barber], and we weren't moving quick enough the last part of it.
"But it was a big effort, just a nose away from being second," he added. "I thought we lost more ground than the horse who ran second, so I was super-pleased with Owendale. Both of them. The horse on the lead ran an unbelievable race. He's a really nice horse, probably just a little shorter races for him in the future."
Cox said Warrior's Charge's owners, Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables, were glad to have supplemented the colt for $150,000 to the Preakness, even though fourth-place money of $99,000 left a shortfall.
"They didn't break even, they didn't get their money back," he said. "But the horse showed them a lot. I think for them, everything was positive as far as performance. The effort yesterday didn't surprise me at all. He gives you what he has. He's very, very honest."
Letting Master Fencer go about his business at his pace has been a key intangible in getting the best end result out of the chestnut colt.
So, on a picture perfect Wednesday morning at Keeneland, the connections behind the son of Just a Way gave him ample time to settle into his routine before posting a half-furlong workout in :52 seconds flat in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, slated for Saturday, June 8.
After emerging from his barn shortly after 6:30 a.m., Master Fencer first headed to the Keeneland training track where he jogged and cantered a couple of laps before making his way to the main track. With exercise rider Yosuke Kono in the irons, the sixth-place finisher in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby put in another easy canter once around before finally breaking off for his move.
"He's a pretty slow starter so we meant him to warm up and get ready to go to the main track," Kono said via translator. "Even at the main track, we actually wanted to see how he can move his body to take action. So the first gallop, we did a stop and go because I wanted to see how he can respond to the break. So he did that twice and he responded well. For the breezing, he did the Japanese way where we start slowly and then maybe the last two furlongs have a strong finish."
Master Fencer has been at Keeneland since rallying from last in the 19-horse field Kentucky Derby to cross the wire seventh before being elevated one spot via the disqualification of Maximum Security. That admirable surge far outdistanced his 58-1 odds and cemented his extended stay in North America for the purpose of chasing the final leg of the Triple Crown.
"To be honest, the plan [to go to the Belmont Stakes] was there but it was all up to the result of the Kentucky Derby," Kono said. "Fortunately he ran well, he finished seventh and eventually became sixth. Because of that result, immediately after the race the owner decided to go to the Belmont.
"Where he was in the first turn and coming into the stretch we were kind of thinking 'Oh my God'. But eventually he used such an amazing late kick. We are really hopeful for the next race."
Owned and bred by Katsumi Yoshizawa and trained by 48-year-old former jockey Koichi Tsunoda, Master Fencer earned his spot in the starting gate for the first Saturday in May by accumulating 19 points on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. His 2019 campaign included a fast-closing second in the $310,830 Fukuryu at Nakayama Racecourse on March 31 and a fourth-place effort in the $330,506 Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse on Feb. 17.
Master Fencer is slated to ship to Belmont Park on Friday, May 24 where he will have his final bit of fine tuning in advance of the 12-furlong classic.
"He's been doing better all the time," Kono said. "He eats well and he works well so we're satisfied for now."
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was trackside at Belmont Park early Saturday morning to oversee Juddmonte Farms homebred Tacitus making his first breeze back since a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Mott is pointing the impeccably bred son of Tapit and multiple Grade 1 winner Close Hatches towards the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, slated for Saturday, June 8.
Tacitus, who captured the Wood Memorial in April at the Big A, breezed over the main track just after 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, working in company with graded stakes winner Multiplier.
Tacitus settled a length back of Multiplier, the 2017 Grade 3 Illinois Derby winner, through a quarter-mile in 24.3 seconds and edged along outside Multiplier down the lane with both grays officially clocked in 48.57 for the half-mile drill. Tacitus galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.44 as he began to pull away from Multiplier.
"It all went smoothly. It was his first breeze back and exactly what we wanted," said Mott. "It's what I expected. They look like a good team together."
Tacitus, piloted by Jose Ortiz in the Kentucky Derby, rallied from 16th to finish fourth, defeated less than four lengths, over a sloppy Churchill main track. He was elevated to third when Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first, was disqualified for an infraction at the top of the stretch that saw the Mott-trained Country House declared the winner of the 145th Run for the Roses.
"We were very happy with Tacitus' effort in the Derby. We always suspected he'd do well at a mile and a quarter," said Mott.
Country House, who provided Mott with his first Kentucky Derby winner, developed a cough after his historic win and was forced to skip the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1 Preakness, which goes to post at 6:48 p.m. this evening at Pimlico.
Country House was examined at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington and returned to Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
Mott said he will take his time with Country House before deciding on where the Derby winner will make his next start.
"Country House is back at the barn in Kentucky. He's just been walking under tack. I'll leave him there for a couple weeks. I want to make sure that he's healthy before we move him and make sure everything is good as it should be," said Mott.
On Friday, Mott watched his dual Grade 1-winner Yoshida breeze four furlongs in 49.64 over the dirt training track at Saratoga.
Owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, and Head of Plains Partners, the multi-surface star Yoshida enjoyed a lucrative 2018 campaign taking the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in May and the Grade 1 Woodward in September. Bred in Japan by Northern Farm, the Heart's Cry bay banked $1,040,670 in 2018.
Yoshida closed out 2018 with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic and most recently finished sixth in the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup.
Mott said Yoshida is targeting the Grade 2, $600,000 Stephen Foster, a Breeders' Cup Win & You're In event, set for June 15 at Churchill Downs.
"Yoshida is doing well. That was his second breeze back. He'll probably train up to the Stephen Foster," said Mott.
|Bed O' Roses Invitational||III||$250,000||7 Furlongs/Dirt||F&M 4&UP|
|Belmont Gold Cup Invitational||II||$400,000||2 Miles/Turf||4&UP|
|New York Stakes||II||$600,000||1 1/4 Miles/Turf||F&M 4&UP|
|Tremont Stakes||$150,000||5 1/2 Furlongs/Dirt||2YO|
|True North||II||$250,000||6 1/2 Furlongs/Dirt||4&UP|
|Acorn Stakes||I||$700,000||1 Mile/Dirt||F3YO|
|Belmont Stakes||I||$1,500,000||1 1/2 Miles/Dirt||3YO|
|Brooklyn Invitational||II||$400,000||12 Furlongs/Dirt||4&UP|
|Easy Goer||$150,000||1 1/16 Miles/Dirt||4&UP|
|Jaipur Invitational||II||$400,000||6 Furlongs/Turf||4&UP|
|Just a Game||I||$700,000||1 Mile/Turf||F&M 4&UP|
|Metropolitan Handicap||I||$1,200,000||1 Mile/Dirt||3&UP|
|Ogden Phipps||I||$750,000||1 1/16 Miles/Dirt||F&M 4&UP|
|Manhattan Handicap||I||$1,000,000||1 1/4 Miles/Turf||4&UP|
|Woody Stephens||II||$400,000||7 Furlongs/Dirt||3YO|
Use the links below to learn more about the third leg of the `Triple Crown of Horse Racing'
The Belmont Stakes, the final and most demanding leg of the Triple Crown, is named after August Belmont who had been a leading banker and racing man of the 19th century. He was also the first President of the Jockey Club in 1867. In 1869, August Belmont took first and second money with his own Fenian and Glenelg. When the race initially started running in 1867 it took place at Jerome Park Racetrack which is in the Bronx. The race didn't move until the Belmont Park opened in 1905 and the race has since remained at this venue.
The Belmont Stakes race is the third race in the triple crown and can carry a ton of excitement. By the time the Belmont Stakes rolls around bettors usually have an idea of what to expect from each horse since the top contenders will have already ran two races.. This means bettors have more information to work with in order to tip the odds in their favour and earn money betting on the Belmont Stakes race.
The Belmont Stakes is a 1.5-mile race, while the Kentucky Derby is only 1.25-mile and the Preakness Stakes is only 1.1875-mile. This extra distance changes the entire dynamic of the race and some horses who may excel at the first two races will not be able to last that extra quarter mile at the Belmont Stakes. This is why the Belmont Stakes is often referred to as the "test of the champion".
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1 1/2miles - The distance of the Belmont Stakes, longer than both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
2 - The number of horses to compete in the race when Man o' War won in 1920. The race also had a two-horse field on four occasions before that.
2:24 - The distance of the Belmont Stakes, longer than both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
1 1/2miles - Record winning time for the Belmont, set by Secretariat when he won the Triple Crown in 1973.
3 - The number of times the Belmont has been decided by a nose, most recently when Victory Gallop denied Real Quiet a Triple Crown win in 1998.
3 - The number of fillies who have won the race. Rags to Riches' 2007 win is the most recent, breaking a 102-year drought since Tanya won the race in 1905.
6 - Number of Belmont wins by jockeys Eddie Arcaro and Jim McLaughlin, tied for the record.
8 - Record number of Belmont Stakes wins by a trainer, held by James Rowe Sr. His last win came in 1913, and he also won two Belmont Stakes as a jockey.
15 - The biggest field ever to contest the race, in 1983.
20 - The number of (equine) winners whose named started with the letter C, more popular than any other first initial.
31 lengths - The margin of victory when Secretariat romped in the 1973 edition, a record.
34 - The number of odds-on favorites to run in the Belmont since 1940. Thirteen of them won.
62 - Number of times the betting favorite has won the Belmont, equal to 42 percent of the time.
$142.50 - Record win payoff, when Sarava won at 70.25-1 in 2002.
1867 - The year the Belmont was first run. This year marks the race's 148th running, as there was no Belmont held in 1911 and 1912.
120,139 - Record attendance, at the 2004 race when Smarty Jones lost his Triple Crown bid. Last year's Belmont attendance was capped at 90,000 to ensure a great experience for fans.
134,839,391 - Total dollars wagered on last year's Belmont Stakes day races.