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Belmont Stakes

The US Triple Crown is considered the true test of champions. Not only The Belmont Stakes is the final and most grueling leg of the Triple Crown. Out of all three races that make up the Triple Crown, it is the oldest by nearly a decade. Twenty six horses have started the Belmont Stakes eligible to become Triple Crown Champions. This brutal hurdle has only been surmounted by eleven horses.

History of the Belmont Stakes

The first Belmont Stakes was run in 1866. It’s named after the race’s first financier Augustus Belmont, Sr. He was a very rich man who was well known in the racing industry. The Belmont Stakes originally was held at the Jerome Park Raceway in New York’s Bronx County, and run clockwise as is the tradition in English races. It was not until 1905 that Belmont Park Raceway was completed. The race has been held annually there since, with the exceptions of 1911, 1912 and in the mid 1960’s as the park underwent major renovations and restorations.

About the Race

The Belmont Stakes has been raced a number of different lengths since its inception, however the current race is a mile and a half. Even with it’s great length, this race is only one lap around the enormous Belmont Park track. It was not until 1921 that it was run counter clockwise as is the American tradition. The 2012 Belmont Stakes is scheduled to be held on June 9th at about 6:30pm. It will be aired live on NBC.

The Trophy

The Belmont Stakes, like the other Triple Crown races have longstanding traditions surrounding the winner. One great example is the white carnations draped over the winning horse at the finish line. This Stakes race boasts a beautiful trophy designed by Pauling Farhman. The trophy itself was made by Tiffany and Co, and every year the owner of the winning horse is presented this trophy.

The trophy itself is very beautiful and symbolic. The base of the bowl is three horses, to represent the three foundation sires of the thoroughbred line. These three horses support a large bowl that has a lid with another horse figurine on top representing Fenian. Fenian was Augustus Belmont’s horse who won the Belmont Stakes and this trophy in 1869. In 1926 the Belmont family donated this trophy to use as the perpetual trophy for the Belmont Stakes.

The owner is can choose not to retain the annual trophy. The owner, the trainer, the exercise rider and the jockey are all presented with their own permanent trophies. The trophy is a silver tray engraved with all the names of previous Belmont Stakes winners on it. Even the groom is presented with a gift.

The Purse

The Triple Crown is known for large purses and big bets. 1993 boasted over $2.5 million bet just on the Belmont Stakes alone. The purse for 2012 is already announced at $1,000,000 with a stunning $620,000 going to the winner. The second place horse wins $200,000. The third will win $100,000 and the fourth wins $50,000. The fifth place horse wins $30,000. Even coming in fifth is no small matter, simply racing in the any of the three Triple Crown races is the mark of a great racehorse.