|1||Bourbonic||15-1||Kendrick Carmouche||Todd Pletcher|
|2||Essential Quality||2-1||Luis Saez||Brad Cox|
|3||Rombauer||3-1||John Velazquez||Michael McCarthy|
|4||Hot Rod Charlie||7-2||Flavien Pratt||WDoug O’Neill|
|5||France Go de Ina||30-1||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Hideyuki Mori|
|6||Known Agenda||6-1||Jose Ortiz||Todd Pletcher|
|7||Rock Your World||9-2||Joel Rosario||John W. Sadler|
|8||Overtook||20-1||Manny Franco||Todd Pletcher|
The Belmont Stakes is known as “The Test of the Champion” mostly due to its marathon distance and status as the final leg of the grueling Triple Crown. It will be contested for the 153rd time this year, and after a one-year Covid-19 pandemic-related shift from its spot as the third jewel to the first jewel a year ago it is back this year on the racing calendar five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three following the Preakness Stakes.
The term Triple Crown was first used when Gallant Fox won the three races in 1930, but the term did not enter widespread use until 1935 when his son Omaha repeated the feat. Since 1931, the order of Triple Crown races has been the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and then the Belmont Stakes. Prior to 1931, the Preakness was run before the Derby eleven times. On May 12, 1917 and again on May 13, 1922, the Preakness and the Derby were run on the same day. On eleven occasions, the Belmont Stakes was run before the Preakness Stakes.
The date of each event is now set by the Kentucky Derby, which is always held on the first Saturday in May. The Preakness Stakes is currently held two weeks later; and the Belmont Stakes is held three weeks after the Preakness (five weeks after the Derby). The earliest possible date for the Derby is May 1, and the latest is May 7; the earliest possible date for the Belmont is thus June 5, and the latest is June 11
Though this year no Triple Crown is on the line since none of the eight who will race in the Belmont Stakes won the Derby, the race is known as the final jewel of the Triple Crown for a reason. Just thirteen thoroughbreds in history have won the Triple Crown.
Belmont Stakes Contenders
This year Kendrick Carmouche will pilot Bourbonic for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Belmont Stakes and is the race’s lone African-American jockey in the race.
Hall of Famer Ed Brown was the first African-American jockey to win the Belmont Stakes in 1870 aboard Kingfisher. Brown was also a very successful trainer and trained 1877 Kentucky Derby winner Baden Baden, who finished third in the Belmont Stakes.
The only African-American jockey to win the Belmont Stakes twice was Hall of Famer Willie Simms with Commanche (1893) and Henry of Navarre (1894). He is also the only black rider to win all three Triple Crown events – the Kentucky Derby with Ben Brush (1896) and Plaudit (1898) and the Preakness Stakes with Sly Fox (1898).
Jockey Oliver Lewis, who captured the inaugural running of the Kentucky Derby in 1875 on Aristides, finished second, two lengths behind Calvin, in the ninth running of the Belmont that year. In 1889, jockey Tony Hamilton rode Diablo to a second-place finish in the 23rd running of the Belmont Stakes.
Shelby “Pike” Barnes won the 24th running of the Belmont Stakes in 1890 aboard Burlington. That year’s fourth- and last-place finisher R. Cooper was ridden by James Lee, whose record of sweeping the entire six-race card at Churchill Downs on June 5, 1907 still stands today.
Essential Quality was set Tuesday as a 2-1 favorite for the Belmont Stakes. Medina Spirit finished first in the Derby on May 1, week later it was revealed the colt tested positive for betamethasone, a therapeutic medication prohibited on race day.Baffert was suspended temporarily in mid-May by Churchill Downs pending the split sample result. Now, the suspension will run through Churchill’s 2023 spring meet, meaning no Derby for Baffert in 2022 or 2023.
Rombauer is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. Jockey Flavien Prat left Rombauer despite winning the Preakness to honor a commitment to ride Hot Rod Charlie, who is the 7-2 third choice from the No. 4 position.John Velazquez will ride Rombauer, who drew the third post position just outside Essential Quality and No. 1 Bourbonic, who didn’t run in the Preakness Stakes.
Hot Rod Charlie (7-2), trained by Doug O’Neill, was third in the Kentucky Derby; Rock Your World (9-2), sent off as the 4-1 second option.
Pletcher has three horses set to run , led by Florida Derby winner Known Agenda (6-1), . In the Kentucky Derby, Known Agenda and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. drew the undesirable No. 1 post position.
Bourbonic is 15-1, No. 5 France Go de Ina is 30-1, No. 6 Known Agenda is 6-1, No. 7 Rock Your World is 9-2 and No. 8 Overtook 20-1.
The field is the smallest since 2015,the limit for Belmont starters is 16. The Belmont lost one starter Tuesday morning when trainer Charlie Appleby announced that Rebel’s Romance, winner of the UAE Derby in Dubai on March 27, will not participate. The horse has an infection in his hind
Miriam Lee has always been a horse racing fan thanks to trips to the tracks in her home state of Maryland with her father as kid. She owns an OTTB and is an advocate for promoting the sport among her peers. Miriam studies communication arts at Hood College and will receive her master’s degree in 2021, which she plans to use for a career in screenwriting. Her all-time favorite racehorse is Man O War.