Racing through a mile-and-a-half marathon, winning the oldest and the most extended leg of Triple Crown can secure a horse’s place in horse racing history, but finishing faster than any other contenders put them into another level. They may become the talk of the town, or can even become the face of the front pages in newspapers and magazines.
Celebrating its 151st year this June 8, 2019, the Belmont Stakes remains to become known as the “Test of the Champions” requiring all elements and skills to win the race especially longer stamina and consistent speed.
Awarded to the Belmont Stakes winner is an 18 inches high, 15 inches across and 14 inches base Tiffany-made silver bowl trophy. The cup has a silver figure of Fenian atop the cover of the bowl supported by three horses representing three foundation Thoroughbreds: Eclipse, Herod and Matchem. The winning owner gets to keep a slightly smaller and less detailed replica, while the trainer and jockey get even smaller ones, about half the owner’s size. The owner can also hold the perpetual trophy for a year until the crowning of the next Belmont Stakes winner.
The crowd is encouraged to sing along the theme from “New York, New York” while draping the winning horse with white carnations; thus, the race’s nickname “Run for the Carnations.”
Introduced in 1998, DeGroff, head bartender at Manhattan’s Rainbow Room/Windows on the World, used an old colonial whisky punch recipe: “One of the sour, two of the sweet, three of the strong, four of the weak”, and it has been the official drink ever since even though the crowd seems to stick mostly to beer.
Another new tradition of Belmont Stakes that began in 1997 is the painting of the winner’s silks on a four-foot cast iron horse and jockey on the fence around the paddock. If it’s a Triple Crown winner, placing it with to a permanent position with the other Triple Crown winners is a tradition.
Fastest Belmont Stakes Running Times
- Point Given (2001)
Entered the race placing fifth in the Kentucky Derby, possibly due to a foot infection, still had given a chance to collect his second jewel and won the Preakness Stakes. Point Given running the 2001 Belmont Stakes came well out of the gate and fit right through the first half-mile into third place. With Jockey Gary Stevens aboard, the horse didn’t back down and instead made way to come front in the competition. While in the final stretch some horses slow down, Point Given didn’t allow another horse to catch him and end the race with 2:26.56 time.
- Risen Star (1988)
His time of 2:26.40 was the fourth-fastest in the 150-year history of this classic event. Risen Star, with jockey Eddie Delahoussaye aboard, he made his best performance beating the rest of the field at Belmont Park by 14 ¾ lengths. Hardly the kind of performance anybody would have expected since his Preakness victory. The colt had suffered a minor ankle injury resulting in him missing two days of training and an essential workout.
- A.P Indy (1992)
The horse that skipped the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes because of the hoof injury outran Pine Bluff, in the leap to win the 1 ½ mile race. His time of 2:26.13 was the third-fastest in the history of Belmont Stakes run. A.P Indy preceded his 1992 win with a Breeder’s Cup victory, aiding him to earn the 1992 American Horse of the Year honor.
Even as A.P Indy is often labeled tied for Belmont’s second-fastest finisher, his official recorded time drifts him back into the third shot.
- Easy Goer (1989)
For once in the Belmont Stakes, Easy Goer was an underdog, but in a race that supposed to have warmed his sire’s heart, he ran his life’s race and revoked the greatest triumph of Sunday Silence’ racing. This horse entered the Belmont Stakes, knowing he had the abilities to keep the game close, he just had to go and do it while finishing the race with 2:26.00 time and placed first beating the Triple Crown contender by eight lengths.
- Secretariat (1973)
Arguably the foremost Belmont Stakes ever run, and probably no hints of defeat. Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, Secretariat came to Belmont Stakes on the verge of grandeur. Facing his biggest rival, Sham, the two horses set a whirling intensity in the 1 ½ mile field. The backstretch began to tire Sham; however, Secretariat gave a champion’s exact makeup by extending to a considerable lead as they approached the half of the race. He won by 31 lengths with a time of 2:24.00, the most significant margin and the fastest record at Belmont Park, and has remained a record-breaking event in the history.
Remaining to become the oldest yet widely known horse racing event, Belmont Stakes continues to cultivate racehorses that are formidable having stamina and consistent speed worthy of the crown and the history. Given the top 5 fastest Belmont Stakes finishers, there are still a lot more horses known for their unique skills in the horse racing history.