New Yorkers and horse racing fans out there might not need any more explanation or trivia about the Belmont Stakes. After all, it's touted as one of the most prestigious horse racing events in the United States. Every year in June, this third and final jewel of the Triple Crown never fail to make a buzz across the airwaves of the world of sports.
For sure, horse racing enthusiasts know almost every stuff about Belmont Stakes. But for those first-timers who want to witness and experience this annual horse racing event, it’s essential for them to know that they’re in for the good ride.
Belmont Stakes is unlike any other event in the Triple Crown. And what makes it unique from other Triple Crown events? Read on below.
Longest Dirt Race in all of Thoroughbred Racing
If you think that the length of Belmont Stakes race is the same with the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, you’re wrong. Three-year-old thoroughbred horses run at a distance of 1.5 miles or 2.4 kilometers in Belmont Stakes. Aside from the fact that it’s the longest of the Triple Crown races, it’s also the longest of all thoroughbred dirt races in the United States.
You can give the title of the most prestigious Triple Crown event to the Kentucky Derby, but the Belmont Stakes unquestionably holds the reputation as the most challenging test in the competition of three-year-old thoroughbred runners.
The preparation to compete in a 1 ½-mile racetrack in Belmont Stakes is indeed very hard for trainers and jockeys. The long distance of the final leg of the Triple Crown means that it’s more of a survival game than of skills.
Also, a lot of sports science go into this prestigious competition. Just think of how a long distance can do to a racehorse? Only the best and most prized racehorses are qualified to compete for it. Throughout the grueling race, it’s like they’re facing the biggest obstacle in their career.
Horse owners and trainers often think twice to breed and train a runner to compete in such a long race, especially that there are only a few races out there with the same length as the Belmont Stakes. After all, breeding and training a racehorse for such a distance that it could possibly run only once in its career may not be the most strategically and financially viable option.
Still, the reputation and prestige that an owner, trainer, jockey, and racehorse can get from winning in Belmont Stakes or from getting the Triple Crown will surely be one for the books.
A Game of Stamina and Determination
Besides the length of the race, one can also bring to the table the whole horse racing season as one of the factors why Belmont Stakes is the toughest horse racing event in America. Within five weeks, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes are run. Of course, it’s not unusual for a racehorse to compete in two or all three events during the season.
Three-year-old thoroughbreds run to the finish line in a long, grueling distance of the race during the summer. Just imagine the heat and the exhaustion that the horses may experience in the race. No wonder that the finale of the Triple Crown is called the “Test of the Champion.”
For a horse to get the title as the Triple Crown winner, it needs to fill in the first place of all three races - and that’s a difficult thing to do. In fact, the longest Triple Crown drought ever recorded is 37 years, from 1978 to 2015, which was ended by American Pharoah.
A lot of preparation should be done for the event to come out on top of the race, given that the length of it is not a joke and the heat of the summer season may prove too risky for both jockeys and the racehorses. Indeed, the Belmont Stakes is a game of endurance and stamina.
You can also spot other factors that differentiate the Belmont Stakes from other Triple Crown events. Take, for instance, the dress code. People traditionally wear less festive outfits for the Belmont Stakes event than the Kentucky Derby.
Furthermore, the victor of the Belmont Stakes is decorated with white carnations instead of roses. Hence, it’s another nickname, “The Run for Carnations.”
The Belmont Stakes is one of the biggest horse racing events in the United States. There’s a lot of factors why it’s unique from other Triple Crown races. One of them is the distance of the race. There are also small differences in tradition such as the dress code and the draping of white carnations on the winner.
New Yorkers and horse racing fans alike flock to Belmont Park every year in June to witness this electrifying event unfold. If you’re looking forward to placing your bet on Belmont Stakes, you can figure out the upcoming odds and or see the experts' analysis online.