Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse-racing facility located in Elmont in Long Island, New York, America. Opened in 1905 covering an area of 650 acres, Belmont Park is now operated by The New York Racing Association Inc., a non-profit racing association that also owns and operates Aqueduct and Saratoga racetrack in New York.
The most celebrated race at Belmont Park is the Belmont Stakes, the final jewel of racing’s Triple Crown. This follows five weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. It is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) horse race for three-year-old colts and geldings carrying a weight of 126 pounds (57 kg) and for fillies with a weight of 121 pounds (55 kg).
The Belmont Stakes, first run in 1867, is the oldest of the Triple Crown events. It predates the Preakness Stakes (first run in 1873) by six years and the Kentucky Derby (first run in 1875) by eight. Aristides, the winner of the first Kentucky Derby, ran second in the 1875 Belmont behind winner Calvin.
The Belmont Stakes is named after August Belmont I. Belmont was a financier who made a fortune in banking in the middle to late 1800s. He also branched out into politics and New York society.
The Belmont Stakes trophy is a solid silver bowl and cover made by Tiffany & Co. It is 18 inches tall, 15 inches across and 14 inches at the base. Atop the cover is a silver figure of 1869 Belmont winner Fenian. The bowl is supported by three horses – Herod, Eclipse and Matchem – who represent the respective superior grandsons of the three Foundation Sires of thoroughbreds: the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Barb. Of these, the lineage Eclipse is predominant in the modern Thoroughbred.
The trophy was presented by the Belmont family as a perpetual award for the Belmont Stakes in 1926. It was the trophy August Belmont received when Fenian won the third running and it had since remained with the Belmont family. The winning owner may keep the trophy for a year until the next Belmont winner is crowned.
The owner of the winner of the Belmont Stakes also receives a large silver tray upon which the names of the previous Belmont winners are engraved. There are also trays for the winning trainer, jockey and exercise rider. The winning groom gets race mementos.
The white carnation is the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. The blanket of carnations worn by the Belmont Stakes winner takes 10 manhours to create. Between 300-400 carnations are glued onto a green velveteen spread. The flowers must be shipped in from either California or Bogota, Colombia.
Twenty-nine horses have been eligible to win the Triple Crown coming into the Belmont Stakes but only 11 have succeeded.
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