The Brock Talk

Friday, May 29, 2009

Belmont Stakes Fun Facts.

Besides being the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1-1/2 miles, the Belmont Stakes has a long and illustrious history and is the oldest of the three races. First run in 1867, the Belmont Stakes is the fourth oldest stakes race in North America, but because it was not run in 1911-'12, the Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously run sporting event in North America having been run every year since 1875.

There are two significant Belmont records that fit the "it'll never be done again" bill. Trainer Woody Stephens won five consecutive Belmonts Stakes from 1982 through 1986 with Conquistador Cielo, Caveat, Swale, Creme Fraiche and Danzig Connection. The seemingly unbeatable standard is Secretariat's world record performance in 1973 when he finished the race in 2:24, a full two seconds faster than Easy Goer in 1989 and A.P. Indy in 1992 who both stopped the clock in 2:26.

Two jockeys have won six Belmont Stakes. Eddie Arcaro accomplished the feat from 1941-'55 and James McLaughlin won six Belmonts between 1882-'88. Julie Krone won the Belmont Stakes on Colonial Affair in 1993 to become the only female jockey to ever take a Triple Crown race.

The Belmont Stakes is perhaps one of the most formful stakes in North America as 60 of the previous 140 winners were favorites. Twelve of those favorites have been odds-odd (less than even odds), with the last two odds-on winners being Affirmed in 1978 at 3-5 and Secretariat who went off at 1-9.

So you're one of those people who like to bet on the grey horse. Good luck in the Belmont. Only two grey horses and one roan have taken the Belmont compared to 53 bay winners and 51 chestnuts.

Alphabetical fans will be interested to know that 20 winner's names began with the letter C. Seventeen horses whose name started with an S have won the Belmont followed by P with 11.

If the long Belmont Stakes exemplifies any quality among it's winners it's stamina. And stamina is one of those mysterious traits that is widely believed to be passed down from generation to generation. So it is worth noting that 15 Belmont winners have been sired by Belmont winners. The great Man o' War leads the list among sires as three of his sons have won the Belmont including 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral. A year later War Admirabl became infamous when he was defeated by Seabiscuit in the match race made famous on the big screen.

Cammando, the 1901 winner, sired Belmont champions Peter Pan (1907) and Colin (1909), two great Belmont winners who now have significant stakes named for them with the Peter Pan being the local prep.

If Rachel Alexandra had run in the Belmont, she would have tried to become only the fourth filly to win the race. Ruthless took the first running in 1867, Tanya won in 1905 and Rags To Riches won a stirring stretch running battle with eventual Horse of the Year Curlin in 2007. Only 22 fillies have tried the Belmont, with Rags to Riches the first since Silverbulletday finished seventh in 1999. The Belmont is a race that Kentucky Derby winning fillies Winning Colors and Genuine Risk could not win.

No comments: