All Eyes on the Belmont Stakes

Will I’ll Have Another win another? Only time will tell—but what is certain is that the equine world will not see a Triple Crown winner this year. As of today, I’ll Have Another was scratched as a Belmont Stakes contender, due to tendinitis in his left front tendon.  With his elimination, the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes will be any horse’s game, with Dullahan the new favorite. The last time a horse was vying for the coveted Triple Crown was in 2008, and those hoping to see the prize awarded were disappointed as Big Brown lost to Da’ Tara.

While there won’t be a Triple Crown this year, as you’re getting ready for race day, here are five fun facts about the Belmont Stakes.

  1. The Belmont is the oldest race in the Triple Crown series. First taking place in 1867, it predates the Kentucky Derby by eight years and the Preakness Stakes by six years.
  2. There has not been a Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed took home the honor. Since its inception, 29 horses have been eligible to win the Triple Crown and only 11 have succeeded.
  3. The prizes for the first Belmont included an “English racing saddle, made by Merry, of St. James’ Street, London.”
  4. May the odds be ever in your favor—the betting favorite has won 61 of the last 143 runnings of the Belmont.
  5. The official flower of the Belmont Stakes is the white carnation. The carnation blanket worn by the Belmont winner takes more than five hours to create and is constructed by hand on the day of the race.

Who will win the “Test of Champions”? Tune in to find out—coverage of the 144th Belmont Stakes begins at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9 on NBC.

For more information on the Belmont Stakes, visit the official race website here.

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