Stats and storylines for 2023 Belmont Stakes
The 155th running of the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 10 will wrap up the Triple Crown. Known as the “Test of the Champion,” the Belmont is the oldest and longest race in the Triple Crown series.
Secretariat established a track and world record when completing the Triple Crown sweep in 1973, blitzing the 1 1/2-mile Belmont distance in 2:24.
National Treasure bids for Preakness-Belmont double
National Treasure did not have the points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but he can become the 19th horse to win the Preakness and Belmont after either losing or bypassing the Kentucky Derby. Afleet Alex last accomplished it in 2005.
Preakness/Belmont winners: Cloverbrook (1877), Duke of Magenta (1878), Grenada (1880), Saunterer (1881), Belmar (1895), Man o’ War (1920), Pillory (1922), Bimelech (1940), Capot (1949), Native Dancer (1953), Nashua (1955), Damascus (1967), Little Current (1974), Risen Star (1988), Hansel (1991), Tabasco Cat (1994), Point Given (2001), and Afleet Alex.
Forte heads new shooters
Scratched the morning of the Kentucky Derby, Forte will return from a 10-week layoff in the Belmont. He was last seen extending his win streak to five with a two-length victory over Mage in the April 1 Florida Derby (G1).
After winning the Kentucky Derby and finishing third in the Preakness, Mage will skip the Belmont. That leaves Forte, the morning line Kentucky Derby favorite, as the probable betting choice in the Belmont.
Forte will try to emulate A.P. Indy, who won the Belmont in his Triple Crown debut after being scratched the day before the 1993 Kentucky Derby as the morning line favorite.
Other horses scheduled to join the 2023 Triple Crown include Arcangelo, Il Miracolo, Prove Worthy, and Tapit Shoes.
Sir Winston, a 10-1 upset winner in 2019, is the last “new shooter” to win the Belmont in his lone Triple Crown appearance.
Since 1990, a total of 10 horses have won the Belmont in their Triple Crown debut: Go and Go (1990), A.P. Indy, Colonial Affair (1993), Sarava (2002), Rags to Riches (2007), Da’ Tara (2008), Drosselmeyer (2010), Ruler on Ice (2011), Tonalist (2014), and Sir Winston.
Triple Crown alumni
National Treasure and fourth-placer Red Route One are expected back from the Preakness three weeks earlier, and Angel of Empire (third), Hit Show (fifth), Tapit Trice (seventh), and Raise Cain (eighth) are considered probable on the five-week turnaround from the Kentucky Derby.
The last two Belmont winners, Mo Donegal (fifth in Kentucky Derby) and Essential Quality (third), came back to win the Belmont after competing at Churchill Downs. Over the last seven years, including 2020 when the Triple Crown was run out of traditional order, five of the last seven Belmont winners skipped the Preakness after being defeated in the Kentucky Derby.
Since 1990, Belmont winners from the Kentucky Derby (no Preakness): Lemon Drop Kid (1999), Commendable (2000), Empire Maker (2003), Birdstone (2004), Afleet Alex (2005), Jazil (2006), Summer Bird (2009), Union Rags (2012), Palace Malice (2013), Creator (2016), Tapwrit (2017), Tiz the Law (2020), Essential Quality, and Mo Donegal.
Arcangelo captured the local prep for the Belmont, the May 13 Peter Pan (G3), in his stakes debut. In the modern era, four Peter Pan winners have come back to add the Belmont: Tonalist (2014), A.P. Indy (1992), Danzig Connection (1986), and Coastal (1979).
Sir Winston finished second in the 2019 Peter Pan before winning the Belmont.
Castellano seeks personal milestone
A two-time Preakness winner, Javier Castellano snapped an 0-for-15 run in the Kentucky Derby on Mage, and the Hall of Fame jockey will seek a personal Triple Crown sweep aboard the up-and-coming Arcangelo. Castellano has finished second thrice in the Belmont, narrowly missing on Stay Thirsty (2011), Commissioner (2014), and Destin (2016).
Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who accomplished a personal Triple Crown sweep aboard Preakness winner National Treasure, will retain the mount in the Belmont. His previous Belmont wins came on Rags to Riches (2007) and Union Rags (2012).
Pletcher pursues fifth Belmont
Mo Donegal delivered Todd Pletcher his fourth Belmont win, which ties Pletcher with his mentor, D. Wayne Lukas, for the most wins among active trainers. The Hall of Fame trainer, who earned his first Triple Crown victory with the filly Rags to Riches in 2007, also sent Palace Malice (2013) and Tapwrit (2017) to Belmont wins.
Pletcher will look to snap the tie with Forte and Tapit Trice in the 2023 Belmont.
James G. Rowe Sr. leads all trainers with eight wins, and he won back-to-back editions as a jockey in 1872 and 1873.
The three biggest handle days in New York history came when a Triple Crown was on the line in 2014 ($151.1 million), 2015 ($135.7 million), and 2018 ($137.9 million).
In non-Triple Crown years, the 2021 edition drew the largest total handle, $112.7 million, which will be a benchmark for the 2023 Belmont Day program.