The third and final leg of the Triple Crown™, the Belmont Stakes has been run at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York since 1926. Though initially incepted in 1867, where it took place at Jerome Park, the Belmont is the oldest of the Triple Crown™ events, predating the Preakness by six years and the Kentucky Derby by eight.
THE BELMONT TROPHY
Winners of the race, ran at America’s largest track (there are three racing ovals – one grand 1 ½ mile main track and two generous turf courses) receive a Tiffany-made silver bowl. Standing at 18 inches high, 15 inches across, and 14 inches at the base, the cover is a silver figure of Fenian, winner of the third running of the Belmont Stakes in 1869. The bowl is supported by three horses representing the three-foundation thoroughbreds: Eclipse, Herod, and Matchem.
From 1869 until 1926, this trophy remained with the Belmont family. In 1926, Mrs. Eleanor R. Belmont, the widow of Major August Belmont II, donated the trophy to the Westchester Racing Association to establish it as a permanent trophy for the race.
In a letter to Mrs. Belmont dated June 8, 1926, Westchester Racing Secretary John J. Coakley wrote: “As desired by you, the Cup will be known in the future as the August Belmont Memorial Cup and will be contested for annually in the renewal of the ‘Belmont Stakes’ at Belmont Park, the winner of each renewal to retain possession of the Cup until the succeeding year.”
The tradition has remained in place ever since.
In addition to the permanent trophy, the winning owner receives a large silver tray upon which the names of previous Belmont are engraved. The cup cost $1,000 to create and augmented the $4,000 in prize money given to the race winner. In 2016, a total prize fund of $1.5 million was on offer, with $800,000 of that going to Exaggerator.
TRADITIONS OLD AND NEW
Beginning in 1997 in the area where horses are saddled, large cast iron horses stand about 4 feet high with iron jockeys on them. At the conclusion of The Belmont Stakes, an artist paints the colors of the winning horse on the iron jockey. If it is a Triple Crown™ winner, it is then moved to a permanent position in the Triple Crown™ ring.
A tradition which spans back a little bit further, to 1912 in fact, the 2nd floor of the Belmont clubhouse, the Belmont Room, the walls are adorned with the photo finishes of past Belmont victors.
WITNESS UNPARALLELED TRADITION IN 2017
The Belmont Stakes has an ability to produce something that is simply unmatched. If history has taught us anything about the Belmont Stakes it is to expect the unexpected, experience moments that shape the course of a sports history. Make sure you are there in 2017 to witness history once again!
With Belmont Experiences, this true test of a champion gives guests the exclusive opportunity to enjoy luxurious in-track, climate-controlled hospitality setting in our Diamond Room featuring sweeping views of the track, gourmet food buffets, a premium open bar, and convenient betting windows.
Live entertainment, legendary jockey appearances, and big-screen televisions with full race day coverage will ensure that you’ll be in the most festive and exciting venue for the races and won’t miss a minute of the action! Your Belmont Stakes trip will be complete with a stay in the Grand Hyatt New York. This sleek and sophisticated New York City hotel is connected to the famed Grand Central Terminal and possesses arguably the best location amongst Manhattan’s luxury hotels. Its proximity to nearby Broadway theaters, 5th Avenue shopping, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and major museums ensures that guests are never more than a few steps from the charms of NYC.