The Belmont Stakes, also known as The Run for the Carnations and The Test of the Champion, is held on the first Saturday of June in New York, at Belmont Park. It is the third race of the Triple Crown.
It is a Grade I stakes horse race for three-year-old thoroughbreds, and at 1.5 miles, Belmont Stakes has the longest racetrack of the three events in the Triple Crown.
Belmont Stakes is one of the oldest Grade I horse races in the United States and was first held at Jerome Park Racetrack in 1867. In 1895, due to new laws that prohibited bookmaking in New York, the Belmont Stakes was almost canceled; however, it was simply rescheduled for November.
In May 1905 the Belmont Park was opened in New York, and the race has been held in there since then. The race was not held in 1911 and 1912, due to anti-gambling laws in New York.
The Triple Crown
In 1930 Gallant Fox won the three Grade I races in America, and Triple Crown was first used to describe the feat. The Triple Crown has been an official event since 1931, with the Kentucky Derby happening first, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes is third and last, as it has remained to this day.
Belmont Stakes Traditions
The Test of the Champion
At 1.5 miles long, the Belmont Stakes racetrack is the longest in the Triple Crown. The record time for the Belmont Stakes 1.5 mile race was set by Secretariat in 1973, at a time of 2:24.
The Run for the Carnations
The other name given to the Belmont Stakes comes from the tradition of draping the winning horse in a blanket of white carnations. The owner of the winning horse is given the silver August Belmont trophy, designed by Tiffany and Co.
Belmont Stakes Song
Through the years, the post parade song for the Belmont Stakes has suffered some changes. Originally it was "The Sidewalks of New York" until 1997 when it was changed to "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra. To appeal to a younger audience, the song was changed to "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z in 2010 but was changed back to "New York, New York" in 2011, through to today.
The Official Drink
As is traditional of horse races, the Belmont Stakes has its own traditional cocktail named the Belmont Jewel. The drink is made of bourbon, lemonade, and pomegranate juice, and was introduced in 2011 to replace the very badly reviewed previous cocktails, the White Carnation and the Belmont Breeze.