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The 153rd running of the $1,500,000 Belmont Stakes (Grade I), is the final leg of the Triple Crown and is set for Saturday, June 5, 2021 at historic Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
The Belmont spring/summer meet will offer 11 Grade 1 contests and seven races with purses of $700,000 or higher, with four of those contests coming during the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival from Thursday, June 3 through Saturday, June 5. The festival will encompass 17 total stakes, including eight Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, capped by the $1.5 million "Test of the Champion" for 3-year-olds in the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.
In addition to the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes on June 5, that day's card will include three Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifiers: the one-mile Grade 1, $1 million Metropolitan for 4-year-olds and up [Dirt Mile]; the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track [Distaff]; and the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs on turf [Turf Sprint].
The blockbuster Belmont Stakes Day card will also feature the Grade 1, $750,000 Manhattan for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/4 miles on turf; the Grade 1, $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies going one mile; the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Just a Game for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at one mile on the turf; the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens in a seven-furlong sprint over Big Sandy for 3-year-olds; and the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn, a 1 ½-mile test for 4-year-olds and up.
John and Diane Fradkin's homebred colt Rombauer, a decisive winner of the 2021 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, arrived at Belmont Park on Monday (May 17) to prepare for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes slated for June 5.
The 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes is the centerpiece of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that runs from June 3 through Saturday, June 5. The festival will encompass 17 total stakes, including eight Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, capped by the "Test of the Champion" for 3-year-olds in the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.
Trained by Michael McCarthy, Rombauer garnered a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his rallying 3 1/2-length score in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness, second jewel of the Triple Crown.
The Twirling Candy bay, who is based at Santa Anita Park, arrived at Belmont at around 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning and will be stabled with trainer Jonathan Thomas.
Accompanying the Preakness champ on the van ride from Maryland was groom Leonel Orantes Aguilar, who reported that the horse shipped to New York "very well."
McCarthy returned to southern California, where he is primarily based at Santa Anita, but gave positive reports on how the horse emerged from his breakthrough performance.
"It seems like he's in good physical shape," McCarthy said. "He was pretty bright and alert on Sunday morning. He's a horse that takes very good care of himself, so we sort of read the signs from him and see what he's telling us. From what I can tell, he's no worse for wear."
The versatile Rombauer graduated at first asking on the Del Mar turf in July 2020 and completed his 2-year-old season on dirt with a second in the Grade 1 American Pharoah in September at Santa Anita and a closing fifth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November at Keeneland, which was won by 2-year-old champion Essential Quality.
Rombauer captured the El Camino Real Derby on the Golden Gate Fields synthetic in February to launch his sophomore season and followed with an even third in the Grade 2 Blue Grass in April on the Keeneland main track ahead of his Preakness effort.
It was a first American classic triumph for McCarthy, who was previously a longtime assistant to newly minted Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher.
"I got a lot of nice messages from people and there were a lot of people that reached out who I hadn't heard from in quite some time, so it was very nice," McCarthy said.
McCarthy went on to say that Bo Hirsch's Ce Ce is a possibility for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps, a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" event on Belmont Stakes Day at 1 1/16 miles on the main track for older fillies and mares.
Following his seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Preakness under Joel Rosario, Yuji Inaida's France Go de Ina, trained by Hideyuki Mori, also arrived at Belmont Park.
Mori's travelling assistant Masaki Takano will oversee the two-time winner's preparations heading into the Belmont Stakes.
"He seemed to travel really well, it was a trouble free trip," said Takano through translator Kate Hunter. "This is a good experience for the horse because the racing here is so different. Over the course of the time that he's been here, he's been able to get used to the American style of doing things. That's helped him relax into the routine and hopefully it will lead to a better performance in the future."
Takano said that France Go de Ina, a two-time winner in Japan at Hanshin Racecourse, has settled into a nice rhythm training in North America and should be well prepared heading into his next engagement.
"The extra length of the Belmont, and the experience he's gotten from racing once here already, it's likely we'll have a better chance to perform better based off his pedigree. We're looking forward to giving it another go," said Takano.
A $100,000 purchase at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, the Kentucky-bred France Go de Ina is by Will Take Charge and out of the Curlin mare Dreamy Blues.
France Go de Ina is a two-time winner at Hanshin Racecourse, including a maiden score on November 28 and an allowance coup on December 19. France Go de Ina entered the Preakness from a sixth in the UAE Derby following a poor start.
Takano said France Go de Ina will resume training on Friday morning.
A $1 million bonus is offered to the connections of any Japan-based horse who wins the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.
The $1 million bonus is in addition to the $800,000 winner's share of the Belmont Stakes, which is contested at 1 ½ miles [2,400 meters], the same distance as classic races in Japan.
In 2016, the Japan-based Lani competed in all three legs of the Triple Crown, with his best showing being a third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes.
The Japan-based Master Fencer, who was elevated to sixth in the 2019 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, closed to finish fifth in that year's Grade 1 Belmont.
To qualify for the bonus, a horse must have made at least three starts in Japan prior to starting in the Belmont and must be nominated to North America's Triple Crown series. In the event of a dead heat, the connections will receive a $600,000 bonus.
PROBABLE (10): Bourbonic (Todd Pletcher / Kendrick Carmouche), Brooklyn Strong (Danny Velazquez / Jose Ortiz), Essential Quality (Brad Cox / Luis Saez), France Go de Ina (Hideyuki Mori / TBD), Hot Rod Charlie (Doug O'Neill / Flavien Prat), Known Agenda (Pletcher / Irad Ortiz Jr.), Overtook (Pletcher / Manny Franco), Rebel's Romance (Charlie Appleby / Mike Smith), Rock Your World (John Sadler / Joel Rosario), Rombauer (Michael McCarthy / John Velazquez)
POSSIBLE (3): Get Her Number (Peter Miller), Keepmeinmind (Robertino Diodoro), Promise Keeper (Pletcher)
(Updated May 23)
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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 153rd 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.
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