Main Course: 1 1/2 Miles
Last Turn to Finish on Main Track: 1,097 feet
Widener Turf Course: 1 5/16 Miles
Inner Turf Course: 1 3/16 Miles
Attendance Capacity: 85,000 - 90,000
Total Seating Capacity: 32,941
Belmont Park is home to the Belmont Stakes. Belmont Park is a 430-acre racetrack in Elmont, N.Y.
Belmont Park was originally opened in May, 1905 and it wasn't strictly for horse racing. It was also the site of aerial tournaments and shows, including the 1910 International Aviation Tournament, one of the top aviation events of the time.
In 1911 an anti-betting legislation was passed, closing track after track. Belmont was a victim of the legislation. It was closed for two years but reopened in 1913 and horse racing bettors have been wagering ever since.
The gracious race track that stands today has been renovated, actually rebuilt. First it was damaged by a fire in 1917, then structural defects in the grandstand closed it again from 1963 to 1968. Finally, on May 20, 1968 Belmont reopened, and it has been opened for racing since.
The first Belmont in the United States was not the famous stakes race or even the man for whom it is named. Rather, the first Belmont was a race horse that arrived in California in 1853 from his breeding grounds of Franklin, Ohio.
The Belmont Stakes, however, is named after August Belmont, a financier who made quite a name and fortune for himself in New York politics and society. Obviously, Mr. Belmont was also quite involved in horse racing, and his imprint is even intertwined within the history of the Kentucky Derby.
The first running of the Belmont Stakes was in 1867 at Jerome Park, on, believe it or not, a Thursday.
In 1890, the Belmont was moved from Jerome Park to Morris Park, a mile and three-eighths track located a few miles east of what is now Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The Belmont was held at Morris Park until Belmont Park's opening in 1905.
The 2002 Belmont Stakes set the precedent for horse racing in New York with a record attendance of 103,222. Additional high attendance marks are: 85,818 in 1999 (Lemon Drop Kid denies Charismatic the Triple Crown); 82,694 in 1971 (Pass Catcher denies Canonero II the Triple Crown); and 80,162 in 1998 (Victory Gallop denies Real Quiet the Triple Crown).
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