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What you need to know about the Belmont and Triple Crown

Photo by Austin Johnson/Ace Weekly

By Josh Caudill

Justify heading into the turn at the 144th Kentucky Derby (Photo by Austin Johnson/Ace Weekly)

All eyes will be on Justify during the Belmont Stakes as he seeks to win the Triple Crown and take his place in the history books. But it’s not easy. You have to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

From 1978 until 2015, there were 13 horses who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown before falling short in New York.

The Belmont Stakes is always considered a “monster” and the most rigorous test of horses. So, what do you need to know about the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown? Here’s the basics of what fans should know for Saturday’s race.

Q: How many horses have won the Triple Crown?

A: 12

There have been 12 Triple Crown winners throughout horse racing history with American Pharoah being the most recent to do so in 2015.

Sir Barton (1919)

Gallant Fox (1930)

Omaha (1935)

War Admiral (1937)

Whirlaway (1941)

Count Fleet (1943)

Assault (1946)

Citation (1948)

Secretariat (1973)

Seattle Slew (1977)

Affirmed (1978)

American Pharoah (2015)

Q: The Kentucky Derby has the mint julep, the Preakness Stakes has the black-eyed Susan cocktail but what drink does the Belmont Stakes have?

A: The Belmont Jewel

It’s 1.5 oz of bourbon, 2 oz of lemonade, 1 oz of pomegranate juice, orange zest and mix the ingredients together. Shake the cocktail and serve on the rocks.

Q: How long is the Belmont Stakes track?

A: It is a 1.5-mile-long

The Belmont Stakes, which is in its 150th year, is nicknamed “The Test of the Champion” and is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown.

The long distance, historically, has put speed horses at a disadvantage. It was the first race to be ran counter-clockwise. The winner is given carnations.

Q: Who holds the track record?

A: Secretariat (1973)

Secretariat, largely considered the greatest horse of all-time, won by 31 lengths ahead of the nearest challenger and set a record time for 1 1/2 miles distance by finishing in 2 minutes and 24 seconds. Secretariat actually holds the track record for all three prestigious legs of the Triple Crown.

Q: How many times has Justify’s trainer, Bob Baffert and jockey, Mike Smith, won at Belmont?

A: Baffert has won two different times in his career, once in 2001 with Point Given and the other was American Pharoah in 2015. As for Smith, he has been the winning jockey twice. He won it in 2010 with Drosselmeyer  and in 2013 with Palace Malice.

Q: How many Triple Crown hopefuls missed their chance at glory with a loss at Belmont?

A: 23 different horses fell short at Belmont. Eight times the Triple Crown hopeful finished second with the most recent example of that being Smarty Jones in 2004.

Q: What is the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing?

A: The Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing is when a horse wins the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. To this day, only one horse has accomplished this–American Pharoah.

Q: What time is the Belmont Stakes?

A: 6:37 p.m. ET

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