Some people – I’m talking about those who have not experienced attending either of the three Triple Crown events or any thoroughbred racing event for that matter – often ask if it’s worth the time and money to attend the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown races.
Well, as an avid thoroughbred racing fan myself, my answer is yes. I have been to the Belmont Stakes several times already, and what I can only say is that it’s one of the most electrifying sports events in the United States.
While the Kentucky Derby holds the title as the highlight and biggest crowd-puller of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes definitely has its own merits. Do you need a bit of spurring? Well, here are the reasons why you should attend the Belmont Stakes.
Belmont Stakes is the Oldest Triple Crown Event
Going to the Belmont Stakes is like taking part in history. The legendary race just celebrated its 150th-anniversary last year, and it will serve another thrill of excitement this coming June 8, 2019.
The first-ever Belmont Stakes took place in 1867, which was six years before the inauguration of Preakness Stakes and eight years before the first run of the Kentucky Derby. While the popularity of the Kentucky Derby often overshadows the third and final jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes already has its place in history as the longest-running Triple Crown event.
The Belmont Park, which is the renowned venue of the legendary race, has already witnessed the greatest three-year-old thorough breds compete over the past century. And with its over 150-year prestige, the Belmont Stakes is expected to continue to run for glory in the coming years.
It’s the Competition of the Best Horses
I’m not only talking about the best three-year-old thoroughbred horses in the United States, but also the best horses in the world. Yes, the Belmont Stakes (like the rest of the Triple Crown events) is the competition of the greatest. That’s why you need to experience and see how this exciting sports event unfolds.
In the past two decades, the Kentucky Derby recorded an average of 150,000 spectators in attendance. Its biggest crowd ever reached up to 170,000 in 2015. The Belmont Stakes, on the other hand, has an average of 50,000 to 90,000 spectators every year, with the highest number of attendees recorded in the Triple Crown years.
Comparing the size of the Belmont Park to Churchill Downs, the venue for the Belmont Stakes is smaller. Hence, the number of spectators at Belmont Stakes is lower than the Kentucky Derby. But the good thing about this is that in Belmont Stakes you get to have an intimate look of the same great horses that competed in the rest of the Triple Crown races.
A Display of Strength and Stamina
Aside from the fact that it’s the oldest, the Belmont Stakes is also the longest Triple Crown race. Horses competing in Belmont Stakes have to run as fast as they can in a mile-and-a-half race distance. Thus, it will come as no surprise that it’s called the “Test of the Champion” and reputed as one of the most challenging thoroughbred races in the United States.
Before the final leg of the Triple Crown, those racehorses have to run in a 1 3/16-mile distance in Preakness Stakes and 1 1/4-mile distance in the Kentucky Derby. Just imagine how grueling a competition those runners have to face in the whole Triple Crown event!
The Belmont Stakes won’t be called as the “Test of the Champion” for nothing. This event is indeed a test of strength and stamina for those three-year-old thoroughbreds that are competing. If you want to witness greatness, you’ll surely get it watching the Belmont Stakes.
You’ll Witness Triple Crown Victories and Upsets in this Event
One can only get the Triple Crown by finishing at the top spot of all three Triple Crown races, and the Belmont Stakes serves as the icing on the cake. The greatest that ever made it completed their Triple Crown victories by crossing the finish line in Belmont Stakes.
However, some of the greatest upsets also happened in this third and final leg of the Triple Crown. Take, for instance, the upset victory of Easy Goer over Sunday Silence in 1989. Sunday Silence is only one race away from getting the third jewel of the Triple Crown. But, unfortunately, Easy Goer shattered his Triple Crown dreams in the Belmont Stakes.
The triumphs and I-almost-got-the-Triple-Crown tales can only be witnessed in the Belmont Stakes. As the final leg of the famous sporting event, the Belmont Stakes is indeed the most exciting.
There are several reasons why you should attend the Belmont Stakes. First and foremost, it’s the oldest Triple Crown race. Attending the event is like taking part in history. Also, Belmont Stakes is the longest and most challenging thoroughbred racing in the United States. For sure, it will give you a shot of excitement if you’ll be among the thousands of spectators in this event.