The Rail to the HorseStory of Belmont Stakes

Not only American but a lot of people from many places around the world, specifically those who are drawn to horses or horse racing, consider Belmont Stakes as one of the most exciting races in the United States. Curious about its popularity? Let’s change rein and look up this quick horsestory of Belmont Stakes. 

The Name “Belmont” 

The name Belmont Stakes was originally named in honor of its German-born American major financier named August Schönberg, commonly known as August Belmont. He was known to be one of the richest figures of his day. 

Belmont was a diplomat who served at The Hague in the United States as the chargĂ© d’affaires from 1853 to 1855 and resident minister from 1855 to 1857. He also became the Democratic National Committee chairman from 1860 to 1872.

He was a banker as well. In fact, before the making of his own banking house named August Belmont & Company, he initially worked in the banking house of the Rothschilds at Frankfurt am Main at the age of 14. More importantly, Belmont was into horse racing. He invested a lot of money in it and eventually Belmont stakes existed. 


In 1867 until 1889, the inaugural running of Belmont Stakes happened in a newly-opened Jerome Park Racetrack in New York with an admission fee of 200 bucks. This was financed by Belmont. 

Moreover, it had been relocated for a couple of times due to renovations and restorations. It was moved from Jerome Park to Morris Park from 1890 to 1904, then to Aqueduct Racetracks in 1963-1967. 

The race initially run at a mile and five furlongs from 1867 to 1873; a mile and a quarter during the years 1890, 1892, 1895, 1904 and 1905; a mile and a furlong (or 220 yards) during the years 1893 and 1894; and a mile and three furlongs (or 660 yards) from 1896 to 1903 and from 1906 to 1925. 

Besides, Belmont Stakes is the fourth oldest race in North America. The oldest was the Phoenix Stakes in Keeneland which started to run in 1831, followed by Canada’s Queen's Plate in 1860 and Saratoga’s Travers in 1864.

Third Gem of Triple Crown Race

Belmont Skates is the oldest race of the so-called Triple Crown Race, predating Preakness by six years and Kentucky Derby by eight years. It was initially used when the racehorse named Gallant Fox won the three races in 1930. 

You can get more history information of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing in the United States at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. In it, you might also have a peek of the Triple Crown Trophy. It’s a work of art that represents the zenith achievement in horse racing and awarded to the winner of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. 


The first race happened in 1867 and was won by filly racehorse named Ruthless. Since then, there were already approximately 1,094 horses who started the race. The winners were different in sex and even in color such ranging from bay, chestnut, dark bay or brown, black, gray and roan. They also came from different places such as in Kentucky, Maryland, Texas, Montana, New York, and even from England and Ireland. 

Additionally, during its inaugural running in 1867 to 1918, geldings were allowed to join the race but were prohibited from 1919 to 1956. Then in 1985, after allowing them again to join the race, Creme Fraiche was the first gelding to win the race. 

Going back to 1919, a horse named Sir Baton was the first winner of the Triple Crown. In this most exceptional of American sporting titles, there were only 13 horses that have won it. There were 34 horses, however, who have been eligible to try, though.

In 1920, another horse named Man o’ War was the first set a new stake and American record by winning the race at 20 lengths. In fact, Man o’War was one of the fourteen Belmont Stakes winner, which sired three subsequent winners namely American Flag, Crusader, and Triple Crown winner War Admiral. 


So far, a horse named Secretariat is the fastest. It won the race at 2:24 in 1973, setting a world record for 1 ½ miles on the dirt. What’s more, even after many decades, no one has even beat Secretariat’s title as the fastest 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile, 1 mile and 1 1/4-mile fraction in any Belmont’s races yet.