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Belmont Stakes Traditions

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Belmont Stakes Traditions
The Secretariat Statue at Belmont Park

The Secretariat Statue in the paddock on Belmont Stakes day. A blanket of carnations is always placed on it for that day.

© Cindy Pierson Dulay
The Belmont Stakes was first run in 1867 and is the oldest of the Triple Crown events, predating the Kentucky Derby by eight years and the Preakness by six. While it has always been held in New York, originally it was run at Jerome Park, then moved to Morris Park in 1890, and finally to the newly opened Belmont Park in 1905 where it has stayed except for 1963-1967 when it was run at Aqueduct while Belmont Park was being rebuilt. Known as "The Test of Champions," the Belmont is the final race of the Triple Crown series and the longest of them at 1 1/2 miles. So far 21 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fail in the Belmont, while only 11 have managed to win all three races and claim the title of Triple Crown winner.

Easily the most casual of the Triple Crown races, it is run five weeks after the Kentucky Derby in early June and often the weather is too hot for more dressy attire. Still you will see a few who come dressed up with fancy hats, but mostly they will be in the airconditioned clubhouse or turf club.

Kentucky Derby Traditions
Preakness Traditions

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