What Makes The Belmont Stakes Horse Racing Special?
This year’s U.S. Triple Crown Series is about to commence soon. This grand horse racing showdown commemorates annually and takes place every first week of May. Only three-year-old thoroughbreds are allowed to compete in the said event who can win over a million-dollar purse prize.
The U.S. Triple Crown Series is made up of three significant horse racing legs. The Kentucky Derby serves as the first segment of the series, which is also the most festive one as it is the leg that will introduce the because the official horse entries that will compete for the Triple Crown. It is followed by the Preakness Stakes that will settle two weeks after the Kentucky Derby.
The final leg of the Triple Crown show is the Belmont Stakes, the most unique among the three. Remember that a racehorse must win the Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes betting odds to be worthy of the U.S. Triple Crown title. There is also an after-party celebration, which serves as the culmination for the whole event.
So, what makes the Belmont Stakes unique compared to the first two races? What are the usual traditions that follow to make this Triple Crown racing segment more special? Below are some Belmont Stakes racing culture and practices that explain why this racing event a must-see for all horse racing aficionados.
The Belmont Stakes Trophy
One of the most significant traditions that the Belmont Stakes has for more than a century and a half is its trophy. Since 1926 the Belmont Stakes organization has made a permanent trophy designed by Tiffany’s. The silver bowl trophy was an inspiration by August Belmont Fenian that he had won in the 1869 Belmont racing show.
The Belmont Stakes trophy is 18 inches tall. It also measures 14 inches around the base and 15 inches across. You can also see a Fenian figure at the top of the trophy, which is made from silver. The best feature of the cup is the three supporting horses that represent the “Foundation Sire of Thoroughbreds.” The horse figures are named the Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk, and Godolphin Barb.
The Belmont Stakes Drink
Initially, the Belmont Stakes has an official drink called the White Carnation. However, in 1997, the Belmont Stakes organization changed its official drink. The drink is now called the “Belmont Breeze,” which you can enjoy sipping while partaking in many activities during the Belmont Stakes.
Dale DeGroff invented the Belmont Breeze. He was the head bartender working for Manhattan’s Rainbow room. He uses the same ingredients used for concocting Whiskey Punch tastes. The flavor of the Belmont Breeze comes with four weak, three strong, two sweet, and one sour flavor.
Another tradition that makes the Belmont Stakes significant is the “Carnations.” This culture has been practiced since the inauguration of this horse racing event. The winner for the Belmont Stakes will be draped with white, intricately made carnations blanket. It is not a common recognition you see in a horse racing event.
The carnations blanket makes up around 300 t0 400 carnation flowers that take more than 10 hours to make. The carnations are glued over a green velvet cloth. This is also a unique reward given to the Belmont Stakes winner since the carnations are exclusively imported from either Columbia or California.
The Belmont Stakes Theme Song
Aside from the official drink, trophy, and carnation blanket, the Belmont Stakes also has its theme song, which makes this event more unique. Initially, the theme song for the Belmont Stakes was entitled Sidewalks.
However, in 1997 the official track was changed to “New York, York,” which was a song popularized by Frank Sinatra. This song is performed during the post parade by an invited music icon. On the other hand, the Sidewalks still get played in the Belmont Stakes. However, it is only during the turf race before the real Belmont Stakes racing event takes place.
Other Belmont Stakes Tradition
Aside from the significant Belmont Stakes traditions listed above, there are also other notable events and practices that make this racing show more unique. Belmont Park has a 30 years old giant white paddock. It also serves as inspiration if the Belmont logo through the years.
You can also find a “Winner’s Photo Gallery” that sits at the Belmont Clubhouse. The Belmont Charity Ball also gets commemorated a night before the racing event to honor the current Belmont Stakes titleholder. Lastly, the most recent Belmont Stakes tradition, which was inaugurated in 2004, is the Belmont Festival.
The fever is on for the 2020 U.S. Triple Crown Series and racehorses are getting ready to saddle up for this huge horse racing showdown. So, with the Belmont Stakes being the last segment of the Triple Crown Series, make sure not to miss it to experience what it has to offer.