The third and final leg of the illustrious Triple Crown™, the Belmont Stakes is a true test of a champion. Ran over one-and-half-miles, the race is one of America’s most highly-anticipated of the racing calendar. Named after leading banker and racing man of the 19th century August Belmont, the Belmont Stakes is held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes.
First inaugurated in 1867, the Belmont Stakes initially took place at Jerome Park from 1867 to 1889, before moving to its current home in 1905 with the opening of Belmont Park in Elmont, NY.
The longest of all three Triple Crown™ races, the Belmont Stakes is unpredictable. It is a test of guts and stamina. While many have gone in search of immortality here and the coveted Triple Crown (34 horses were eligible), just 12 horses have completed the rarest of American sporting successes.
At Belmont Park, horses must be bred to run the extra distance. At 1.5 miles-in-length, it is one of the longest first-class races in the United States.
Down through the years, the hallowed turf has seen it all. From Secretariat’s record-breaking act of sheer brilliance in 1973 when “moving like a tremendous machine”, Rags To Riches bridging a 102-year gap by becoming just the third filly to stride to victory in 2007, to 2015’s coronation of American Pharoah when becoming the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown™ following 37 years of a drought, few races compare when it comes to history, prestige or excitement.
Ahead of the 2017 Belmont Stakes, which takes place from June 8 -10 at Belmont Park, NY. Belmont Experiences will recount the story of our ten favorite successes at the “Run for the Carnations” for the next ten Wednesday’s leading up to race week.
Seattle Slew, 1977
A horse that captured the imagination of a nation, Seattle Slew entered the 1977 Belmont Stakes with a weight of expectancy. Looking to become the tenth horse to achieve racing immortality and Triple Crown™ success, Seattle Slew arrived at a Belmont Park that had been battered by torrential downpour.
Facing one of the heaviest surfaces in Belmont Stakes history, Slew’s tilt at history almost never happened. Before the race, trainer William Turner spent the afternoon of the race in a tavern across from the stable area. When Seattle Slew failed to prepare alongside the other seven runners, it was only when the second call went out that Turner was located and Slew was quickly prompted to the paddock area, with post time pushed back by 10 minutes.
A force of intimidation to his rivals, Seattle Slew quickly took the lead and was angled to the rail by legendary Jockey Jean Cruget. Tracked closely by Spirit Level through the early stages, as well as Run Dusty Run down the back straight, Seattle Slew had other ideas. Through ¾ of a mile in a relatively slow 1:14, it appeared Slew was toying with his rivals.
By the time he had reached the far turn, he exploded from the field and opened up a four-length lead. Run Dusty Run battled on valiantly to try and make up the ground, but to no avail. Cruget knew Seattle Slew had achieved greatness and waved his whip in delight as he stood in the stirrups on the run-in.
Immortality was achieved by Seattle Slew, and in doing so he became the tenth winner of the Triple Crown™. To this day, Seattle Slew, owned by Karen L. Taylor and trained by William Turner, stands alone as the only undefeated winner of the Triple Crown™.
Be at the Belmont Stakes in 2017!
The Belmont Stakes is a true test of a champion. In 2017, make sure you are there to witness history in the making. With Belmont Experiences, the Official Experience Provider for the Belmont Stakes, race fans will be able to enjoy all-encompassing views of the track.
Complete with access to our in-track, climate-controlled hospitality setting in The Diamond Room at North Shore Terrace, guests will enjoy gourmet food buffets, a premium open bar, live entertainment, legendary jockey appearances, and big-screen televisions with full race day coverage that ensure you’ll be in the most festive and exciting venue for the 2017 Belmont Stakes.