The Belmont Stakes (G1) is the third jewel of the Triple Crown which runs each June at Belmont Park three weeks after the Preakness Stakes (G1) and five weeks after the Kentucky Derby (G1).
The Belmont Stakes is the longest of the three Triple Crown races, contested at 1.5 miles, first run in 1867.
The first running of the race was contested at Jerome Park, was moved to Morris Park in 1890, and landed at Belmont Park in 1905 where it has been run since except for 1911 and 1912 when the race was not run due to the anti-gambling laws that went into effect, and from 1963 to 1967 where the race was run at Aqueduct while Belmont Park was being renovated.
The Kentucky Derby is famous for being the best betting race of the year, while the Preakness Stakes tends to be run more true to form, with the winning horses paying much less.
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By the time the Belmont Stakes rolls around, you would think horseplayers would have a good grasp on handicapping the third jewel of the Triple Crown and the betting payoffs would be lower, but that is far from the case.
While Union Rags paid just $7.50 in the 2012 running of the race, the previous winners lit up the toteboard.
Ruler On Ice pulled off the upset in 2011, returning $51.50, while Drosselmeyer paid $28.00 in 2010.
The 2009 winner Summer Bird returned his backers $25.80 for a $2 wager, while Da’Tara in 2008 pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the race when he returned $79.00, with the betting favorite Big Brown checking in dead last in his Triple Crown bid.
The biggest upset in the history of the race was in 2002 when Sarava shocked the racing world, ending the Triple Crown bid of War Emblem and returning $142.50.
With Medaglia d'Oro running second at 16-1, the $2 exacta returned a hefty $2,454.00.
We usually see the biggest prices when there is a Triple Crown in the balance. Smarty Jones was seeking to become the 12th Triple Crown winner in history in 2004, and looked headed to victory in the stretch.
However, the 36-1 longshot Birdstone rallied late to pass Smarty Jones in deep stretch to pull off the upset, paying $74.00.
The largest winning margin in the race was accomplished by the great Secretariat as he locked in his Triple Crown, moving like a machine to win by an incredible 31 lengths, something we may never see again in a Triple Crown race.
The last horse to complete the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978, and since that time there have been a dozen runners that won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but failed to win the Belmont Stakes.
The most recent is in 2012 when I'll Have Another looked poised to end the drought, but the colt came up with tendinitis the day before the running of the race, forcing his trainer Doug O'Neill to scratch him and send him off to the breeding shed.
Be sure to check out our free Belmont Stakes picks from professional horse racing handicapper Kenneth Sttrong!
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