2024 Belmont Stakes: Which horses are bred to handle the distance?

June 4th, 2024

Due to renovations at Belmont Park, the 2024 Belmont S. (G1) is taking place at Saratoga over a shortened 1 1/4-mile distance.

Which of the 10 entrants are bred to handle the abbreviated trip? We’ve gone through the field and ranked the top five contenders based on pedigree:

1. Seize the Grey

Preakness (G1) winner Seize the Grey is a son of Arrogate, who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Dubai World Cup (G1), and Travers (G1) racing 1 1/4 miles. He’s also the sire of 2023 Belmont winner Arcangelo. Seize the Grey’s dam is Smart Shopping, a daughter of acclaimed stallion Smart Strike, the sire of long-winded champions Curlin, Lookin At Lucky, and English Channel as well as the damsire of Kentucky Derby winners Mine That Bird and Rich Strike. Seize the Grey’s pedigree is absolutely stuffed with classic stamina, and racing 1 1/4 miles in the Belmont should prove no obstacle.

2. Dornoch

As a son of champion two-year-old male Good Magic out Gazelle (G2) runner-up Puca (in turn a daughter of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown), Dornoch is a full-brother to 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage. From a pedigree perspective, there’s no reason to doubt Dornoch’s ability to handle 1 1/4 miles during the spring of his sophomore season.

3. Resilience

Mixing speed with stamina can be a recipe for success over 1 1/4 miles, and the pedigree of Resilience contains both. Sire Into Mischief was best as a sprinter/miler, and many of his runners have followed suit, but he’s also the sire of Kentucky Derby winners Authentic and Mandaloun and the grandsire of Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan. Meanwhile, Resilience’s dam is Meadowsweet, a daughter of the above-mentioned Smart Strike. There’s a lot to like about this pedigree cross.

4. Honor Marie

Honor Marie is a son of 1 1/8-mile Whitney (G1) winner Honor Code out of Dame Marie, a daughter of Smart Strike. Honor Code has sired 1 1/4-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Max Player and is a son of Belmont winner A.P. Indy (a major stamina influence), so Honor Marie is bred to handle 1 1/4 miles.

5. Protective

Protective’s sire, Medaglia d’Oro, won the Travers (G1) over 1 1/4 miles and finished a close second in the Belmont. At stud, he’s sired plenty of star route racers, including Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra. Protective’s dam, Grace Hall, won the seven-furlong Spinaway (G1) as well as a trio of Grade 2 route races and is a daughter of Belmont winner Empire Maker, so this is a pedigree packed with class and stamina.