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17 fun facts about the Belmont Stakes

Chateaugay, right, with jockey Braulio Baeza, charges to

Chateaugay, right, with jockey Braulio Baeza, charges to the finish line to win the 95th running of the Belmont Stakes at Aqueduct Race Track in New York. (June 8, 1963) Credit: AP

1. Belmont winner Man o' War (1920) sired three horses who also won the race: American Flag (1925), Crusader (1926) and Triple Crown winner War Admiral (1937).

2. In the early years of the Belmont, the race was run clockwise (as races are run in England) over a fish hook-shaped course which included part of the current training track. The first counterclockwise Belmont Stakes was run in 1921.

3. The fifth running of the Belmont Stakes, in 1871, featured the first post parade in the United States. Prior to that year, horses were taken from the paddock area directly to the post.

4. Hall of Fame jockey Bobby Ussery had eight rides in the Belmont and finished last three times. He avoided a fourth last-place finish in 1966 when he rode Fleet Shoe to 10th place in the 11-horse field.

5. Seven women have trained Belmont Stakes horses, with Dianne Carpenter showing the best with Kingpost, second to Risen Star in 1988.

6. Victory Gallop's Belmont victory gained a measure of revenge for trainer Elliott Walden. His colt was second to Real Quiet in the Kentucky Derby by a half-length, and second again to Real Quiet in the Preakness Stakes by 2¼ lengths.

7. Trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons saddled father and son Triple Crown winners -- Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha (1935).

8. Five times the Belmont Stakes went off with only two horses in the field -- 1887, 1888, 1892, 1910 and 1920, when Man o' War won.

9. The largest field for the Belmont Stakes was 15 horses in 1983 when Caveat defeated Slew o' Gold.

10. The Belmont Stakes is the fourth-oldest stakes race in North America. The Phoenix Breeders' Cup at Keeneland, originally the Phoenix Stakes, was first run in 1831. The Queen's Plate in Canada was first run in 1860 and the Travers at Saratoga began in 1864. Belmont's first running was in 1867.

11. James Rowe was the first jockey with back-to-back Belmont winners -- Joe Daniels in 1872 and Springbok in 1873.

12. The white carnation is the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. The blanket of 300-400 carnations worn by the winner takes 10 hours to put together. The flowers are shipped in from either California or Bogota, Colombia.

13. Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel was 0-for-9 in Triple Crown races until Empire Maker's Belmont win in 2003.

14. Hall of Famer Braulio Baeza was the winning jockey on three different tracks in which the Belmont Stakes has been staged. He rode Sherluck in 1961 at old Belmont, Chateaugay at Aqueduct in 1963, and Arts and Letters in 1969 at the present-day Belmont Park.

15. Two owners, James R. Keene and Belair Stud, share the record for most Belmont Stakes winners -- six. Stud had two Triple Crown winners, Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha ( 1935).

16. Easy Goer's victory was the second-fastest (2:26) in Belmont history. Only Secretariat (2:24 in 1973) was faster.

17. Since 1905, the No. 1 post has produced the most winners: 23. Thirteen winners have started from both the No. 3 and No. 5 gates.

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