Thoroughbred racing has a storied and illustrious history.
Throughout late spring, racing’s best young horses compete for awards in various races. The goal is to win all three of these coveted titles and earn ranking as a ‘Triple Crown’ winner. The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing is comprised of three events – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
The Kentucky Derby begins the excitement in May, followed two weeks later by the Preakness Stakes. The Belmont Stakes, often called ‘The Test of the Champion’ or ‘The Run for the Carnations,’ marks the third and final leg of the Triple Crown.
The Belmont Stakes, despite being the last race in the crown, is the oldest of the three Triple Crown events. The Belmont predates the Preakness by six years and the Derby by eight years. The first running of the Belmont Stakes took place in 1867 in Jerome Park. According to the Belmont Stakes, the Belmont is the fourth oldest race in North America.
Each year on the first or second Saturday in June, tens of thousands of enthusiasts head to Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, to witness the race firsthand. Millions more will tune in to watch the event on television. The race is 1.5 miles, which has been the norm since 1926, making it the longest race of the Triple Crown. The winning horse is draped with a blanket of white carnations.
Unlike the other races in the Triple Crown, the Belmont has evolving traditions. The post-race parade song has been changed several times to represent various New York themes. Also, the official drink of the ‘White Carnation’ was changed in 1997 to the ‘Belmont Breeze.’ It was once again modified in 2001 to the ‘Belmont Jewel.’
In the history of the Triple Crown, 13 horses have won all three races – Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).
It stands to be seen what contender this year will get a shot at the carnations and trophy.
– Courtesy Metro Creative