Ten Things You Should Know About the 2018 Belmont Stakes

Racing
Mike Smith celebrates winning the2013 Belmont Stakes aboard Palace Malice. (Eclipse Sportswire)

On Saturday, June 9, Justify will try to become racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner in the Belmont Stakes. The Triple Crown hopeful is expected to face as many as 10 opponents in the $1.5 million race, and a sellout crowd of 90,000 fans is anticipated.

Get ready for Justify’s historic bid with the fun Belmont Stakes facts below.

1. Historically, the betting favorite has won the Belmont Stakes 41.6 percent of the time (62 of 149 runnings) but just two of the last 15 editions featured winning favorites: American Pharoah (2015) and Afleed Alex (2005).

2. Horses sired (fathered) by leading stallion Tapit have won three of the last four editions of the Belmont: Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016), and Tonalist (2014). Tapit’s son Hofburg is pointing for this year’s race.

Bob Baffert with Justify. (Eclipse Sportswire)

3. Trainer Bob Baffert has two Belmont Stakes wins, the most recent of which came in 2015 when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. His first was with Point Given in 2001. He brings Justify and possibly Restoring Hope to this year’s race.

4. The 12 Triple Crown winners faced an average of just 4.6 other horses in their Belmont wins, compared with an average Belmont field of 10.4 horses in the last 15 years. American Pharoah defeated seven opponents in 2015.

5. At odds of 70-1, Sarava gave bettors the biggest win payout in the history of the Belmont. His 2002 win earned bettors $142.50 for every $2 bet.

6. Of the 149 editions of the race, 24.8 percent of them (37) were run on an off track but none since 2011. Justify’s Derby and Preakness wins both were on sloppy tracks.

7. Jockey Mike Smith has won the Belmont twice in the last eight runnings: in 2010 with Drosselmeyer and 2013 aboard Palace Malice. He'll ride Justify this year.

8. Triple Crown winners own the two largest winning margins in the Belmont. Secretariat won by 31 lengths in 1973 and Count Fleet won by 25 lengths 30 years prior.

9. The record amount bet on Belmont Stakes day came in 2014, when a whopping $150,249,399 was wagered.

10. Of the 35 horses who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, just 12 were able to add a Belmont win to sweep the Triple Crown. That means 23 were unable to complete the sweep, including three who didn’t run in the Belmont at all.

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