The Belmont Derby , held yearly at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, a pinnacle of elegance and competition in the world of thoroughbred horse racing, is an event steeped in rich history and unmatched prestige. This legendary race, hosted annually at the iconic Belmont Park,captivates the hearts of racing enthusiasts and aficionados from around the globe.
Formerly known as the Jamaica Handicap. This exhilarating race has undergone remarkable transformations since its inception. Originally named after the vibrant Jamaica District in Queens, New York, the first Jamaica Handicap took place in 1929 at the renowned Jamaica Race Course. Over the years, the race's location shifted, with contests held at the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens during specific years, including 1960, 1975-1977, 1979-1981, and 1987.
The race's distance has also witnessed changes throughout its illustrious history. Initially raced over a distance of six furlongs from 1929 to 1953 and 1957 to 1960, it then extended to 1+1/8 miles (9 furlongs) in 1954 and maintained that distance from 1997 through 2014. In 2014, the race underwent significant alterations, becoming a prominent highlight of the now defunct Stars and Stripes Racing Festival held at Belmont Park. It was renamed from the Jamaica Handicap to its current title and relocated from October to July. Additionally, the race distance expanded to 1+1/4 miles, and the purse experienced a substantial increase from $500,000 to an impressive $1,250,000.
The Belmont Derby Invitational brings together tradition and celebration, weaving a tapestry of customs that evoke nostalgia and honor the sport's heritage. From the elegant fashion choices of attendees to the melodic rendition of the national anthem, every moment carries the weight of the race's enduring legacy.
Nestled in the heart of New York, Belmont Park stands as an enduring symbol of horse racing heritage. With its sprawling grandstands, picturesque scenery, and world-class facilities, this legendary racecourse provides the perfect backdrop for the Belmont Derby. This track is renowned for its unique challenges, including its long stretch run, which has witnessed some of the most memorable moments in horse racing history. Its iconic grandstand and electric atmosphere create an unforgettable experience for both seasoned racing fans and newcomers alike.