Belmont Park is home to some of the greatest races in the history of thoroughbred racing.
While many focus on the winners that come out of the Belmont Stakes, it's equally important to honor the actual races and moments that make the 1 1/2-mile distance worthy of being coined the "Test of the Champion".
With the 2020 Belmont Stakes and a new decade in thoroughbred racing on the horizon, we're breaking down the top five Belmont Stakes races of all-time.
5. Easy Goer Spoils Triple Crown Bid
1989 Belmont Stakes
The 1989 Belmont Stakes was supposed to be the coronation of Sunday Silence as the sport's first Triple Crown champion in over a decade.
But, as we'll see on this list, success at Belmont Park is never a guarantee.
This race came down to the rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer, with the latter finally getting the upper hand after failing to defeat Sunday Silence in the first two races of the Triple Crown.
Easy Goer not only proved that he could compete with the top horse in the field, but that he could dominate on any given race day. The colt won the race by a whopping eight lengths and finished with the second fastest time in race history.
For those watching at home and those in attendance, it was one of the most impressive performances in the race’s history.
4. Rags to Riches Cashes Out
2007 Belmont Stakes
Going into the 2007 Belmont Stakes, it had been over a century since a filly had reigned victorious at the third leg of the Triple Crown.
That all changed when Rags to Riches entered the starting gate.
The filly made history by being the first to win the Belmont Stakes since 1905, ending a drought that many thought would continue on for years.
But it's not about the fact that Rags to Riches won, but how she won that has this race on the list.
Rags to Riches fumbled out of the starting gate but was able to regain her composure and push into a tie for the lead at the top of the stretch with Curlin.
The two separated from the pack, dueling head-to-head into the final stretch while five full lengths ahead of the competition. In front of the crowd of 46,870 onlookers, Rags to Riches made a last effort push and finished a head above her competitor to claim the victory.
3. Affirmed Outclasses His Greatest Rival
1978 Belmont Stakes
The 1978 rivalry between Affirmed and Alydar is one of the most storied in the sport's rich lineage.
The two battled nine times in total, culminating in an epic conclusion at the 110th running of the Belmont Stakes.
Affirmed came into the race looking to complete the Triple Crown, but Alydar wouldn't let the colt complete the treble without a challenge. The two battled against one another for over seven furlongs, going stride for stride as the crowd at Belmont Park went berserk in the background.
It all came down to the final stretch, the final sentence in the rivalry's closing chapter, where Affirmed got the better of his rival one last time, winning by a head and completing the 11th Triple Crown in thoroughbred racing history.
2. Secretariat's Immortal Run
1973 Belmont Stakes
We can honor the close finishes and dramatic endings that have been given us some of the best Belmont Stakes races of all-time, but at some point, we must give credit where its due to the single greatest performance in thoroughbred racing history.
Secretariat's 31-length jolt at Belmont Park is the most captivating scene in the history of the race, making even the sport's biggest blowout one of its most thrilling races.
The audience in attendance was privy to one of the sport's defining moment as Secretariat claimed his Triple Crown and cemented himself as one of the sport's most cherished icons.
1. Victory Gallop's Nose Changes History
1998 Belmont Stakes
The greatest edition of the Belmont Stakes took place during a 20-year Triple Crown drought.
Real Quiet came into the "Test of the Champion" with Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes victories in saddle, just needing a win at Belmont Park to end the two-decade dry spell.
But what resulted was the most exhilarating finish in the race's storied history, as Victory Gallop tracked down Real Quiet in the final stretch to overcome the potential treble winner by a nose at the finish line.
Real Quiet once led the race by four lengths, but couldn’t stave off Victory Gallop, ridden by Gary Stevens, for the full 1 1/2-mile length.
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