Welcome to 2016 Belmont Stakes & Belmont Betting

The Belmont Stakes is the final race of the three that comprise the Triple Crown. It takes place every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. For the second year in a row history could be made at the 2015 Belmont Stakes. American Pharoah has already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and is one win away from becoming only the 12th Triple Crown winner in history. There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner in the sport of horse racing since Affirmed in 1978. California Chrome gave it a good run last year, winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before finishing fourth behind Tonalist in the Belmont.

The Belmont is a Grade 1 stakes race contested over a 1 ½ mile dirt track for three-year-olds. During the Triple Crown campaign, a horse must not only deal with the longest distance of their career but the grueling schedule. The Belmont takes place three weeks after the Preakness and five weeks after the Kentucky Derby. Since most high-level thoroughbreds usually race every three or four weeks, the scheduling of the Triple Crown races is as big of a challenge as the competitions themselves. The scheduling is so demanding that many horsemen have called for the racing schedule to be changed to provide horses with more time between races.

First held in 1866, the Belmont is the oldest of the Triple Crown races by nearly a decade. The race is the namesake of 19th-century financier August Belmont, Sr. and was originally run at the Jerome Park Racetrack in the Bronx. The Jerome Park track got its name from a Wall Street colleague of Belmont’s, Leonard Jerome.   August Belmont died in 1890 and Jerome in 1891 and following their passing the event was moved to the nearby Morris Park Race Course until the opening of Belmont Park. The race has been held annually since then with the exception of 1911 and 1912. Between 1963 and 1967 the race was held at nearby Aqueduct Racetrack due to a major renovation project at Belmont Park.

While the Kentucky Derby has the nickname ‘the run for the roses’, the Belmont winner traditionally receives a blanket of carnations. Despite the floral tradition of the Belmont the moniker “the run for the carnations” hasn’t exactly become part of the American lexicon. The race’s catch phrase may not have gained traction with the American public, but the Belmont does boast what many consider the greatest performance in the history of thoroughbred racing. In 1973, Secretariat clinched the Triple Crown in the Belmont with a downright dominant performance—“Big Red” set a course record of 2:24 in winning the race by an astounding 31 lengths. One of the most enduring images of Secretariat’s victory is the shot of jockey Ron Turcotte easing up his mount near the finish line as he looks back over his shoulder in amazement that the rest of the field is nearly out of sight.

The 2014 Belmont winner was Tonalist, trained by Christophe Clement with jockey Joel Rosario aboard. Tonalist was a 15/1 betting choice with California Chrome installed as a 3/5 post time favorite. Tonalist paid $20.40 to win, $9.60 to place and $7.00 to show. Commissioner finished second returning $23.20 and $13.20 while Medal Count took third paying $13.20.

The 2016 Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 11th. For those looking to attend the race live, gates open at 8:30 AM. In addition to the highly sought after reserved seating, Belmont Park admits thousands of fans via general admission on a first come, first served basis. Reserved seats should be purchased well in advance–in 2014, they sold out long before race day.

Latest Articles

Mohaymen Connections Targeting Travers Stakes

Posted Under: News by Jim Murphy on 24th June 2016

Before Nyquist won the head to had matchup in the Florida Derby and became ‘the horse to beat’ in the Kentucky Derby he had been relegated to ‘second favorite’ status. The favorite was Kiaran McLaughlin trained Mohaymen, winner of his first five career races and beloved by the horse racing media. He finished fourth in the Florida Derby and fourth again in the Kentucky Derby.

Mohaymen hasn’t raced since the first Saturday in May but his connections are starting to train him up for a return at Saratoga. The tentative plan is for Mohaymen to run in the Jim Dandy followed by the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes on August 27. The Haskell Stakes is also a possibility. Trainer McLaughlin explains the plan for Mohaymen’s return to racing along with his post Kentucky Derby activities: “Mohaymen went home right after the Derby, just for a once over. He was fine; a clean bill of health. We were never going to go to the Belmont. He’s doing great and pointing for the Jim Dandy-Travers. We might look at the Haskell, we’ll see, but that’s the weekend we’re looking at.”

Mohaymen has returned to training, albiet slowly. He worked earlier this week with a three furlong breeze at the Greentree Training Facility near Saratoga. McLaughlin was happy with what he saw: “He worked great, galloped out in 49 (seconds) and wouldn’t have blown out a match. We’re on our way to working weekly leading up to his next start.”

Mohaymen is expected to work again when the Saratoga main track opens for training on July 1. Mohaymen likely needed a rest following the frenetic start to his career. He won his first five starts including the Grade II Nashua and Grade II Remsen Stakes as a two year old. His three year old campaign began with wins in the Grade II Holy Bull and Grade II Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park. He then ran into Nyquist in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream which preceded his fourth place run in the Kentucky Derby. Assuming that McLaughlin is correct about his health, the son of Tapit could be a major contender in Saratoga’s marquee races.

Hoppertunity To Run In Santa Anita Gold Cup

Posted Under: News by Jim Murphy on 23rd June 2016

Saturday’s Grade 1 $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita got a new race favorite at the last minute when trainer Bob Baffert decided to run Hoppertunity off of a four month layoff. Hoppertunity hasn’t raced since a third place finish in the March Dubai World Cup, four lengths behind race winner California Chrome.

Hoppertunity returned to training not long after his Dubai World Cup run but he didn’t look impressive at all. Baffert said that for weeks he didn’t look like he was ready to return to competitive racing. Over the past week or so, Baffert has started to see improvement and after a six-furlong workout in 1:12.20 at Santa Anita last Saturday he decided to give Hopportunity the start in the Gold Cup: “He’s never been a good work horse. For him, he worked very well. I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll run him.’” Hoppertunity finished second in the 2015 Gold Cup and will very likely be the favorite in a field of eight horses three years old and up going 1 1/4 miles.

Hoppertunity is a four time stakes winner, most recently in February’s Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita. Overall, he’s won 5 of 19 starts and earned $2,872,675 in his career. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Hoppertunity has been his consistency–he’s finished ‘out of the money’ only four times in his career. Since earning his first stakes win at the Rebel Stakes in March 2014 he’s been even better, finishing lower than third just twice (both were fourth place finishes).

The primary concern in the Santa Anita Gold Cup is Hoppertunity’s ability to handle the layoff and subsequent comeback in a Grade 1 race. Baffert thinks he’ll be OK despite the lack of preparation: “I don’t have him as cranked up as I’d like to have him, but I’m counting on his class. He has a big set of lungs, and he’ll come running.”

Hall of Famer Mike Smith will ride Hopportunity in the Gold Cup. Flavien Prat was the jockey for Hopportunity in the Dubai World Cup but has a prior commitment this weekend. Smith has raced Hopportunity six times, including a second place finish in the 2014 Santa Anita Derby.