Where Are They Now? Twenty Years of Belmont Stakes Winners

Union Rags, on the inside, won the Belmont Stakes in 2012. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The 2021 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets is coming up fast, and if you’ve ever wondered what happens to the victors of the final jewel of the Triple Crown once their racing careers are over, wonder no more!

We have the update on where the past 20 winners below. 

2020: Tiz the Law

Tiz the Law’s Belmont win was remarkable: not only was it the first time in 138 years that a New York-bred horse won the "Test of the Champion," but he also did so in a pandemic that saw the Belmont Stakes kick off the Triple Crown series for the first time in history. These days, he’s living at Ashford Stud as a stallion in the winter and spring months and shuttling to Chile to be a sire in the summer and fall.

2019: Sir Winston

Sir Winston was the upset Belmont winner of a tumultuous Triple Crown season, rewarding his bettors with $22.40 for a $2 win wager. Nowadays he’s taking a rest from racing on his owner Tracy Farmer’s Shadowlawn Farm in Kentucky.

2018: Justify

The Belmont capped off both Justify’s winning Triple Crown season as well as his career; nowadays he’s a sire at Ashford Stud in Kentucky. 

2017: Tapwrit

Tapwrit is now a stallion standing at Gainesway in Kentucky, and his first foals (the name for a baby horse) are 1 year old.

2016: Creator

Creator won the 2016 Belmont in a squeaker, getting his nose in front of Destin at the finish line. These days, he’s performing stud duties at Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan. 

2015: American Pharoah

“The 37 year wait is over!” American Pharoah’s Belmont Stakes victory made him the first Triple Crown winner in nearly four decades. After a successful summer campaign that saw him win the Haskell Stakes and finish second in the Travers, American Pharoah went on to win the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic before retiring to become a stallion at Ashford Stud.

2014: Tonalist

Tonalist upset fan favorite California Chrome to capture the 2014 Belmont Stakes; after continuing his racing campaign to include victories in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Tonalist is now a stallion at Lane’s End in Kentucky and has fathered several very successful runners in his new career. 

2013: Palace Malice

Palace Malice won the Belmont Stakes in 2013 and found elite racing victories to be very much to his liking: he went on to capture the Jim Dandy Stakes, the Metropolitan Handicap, the New Orleans Handicap, the Gulfstream Park Handicap, and the Westchester Stakes. Now, he’s a stallion standing at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky and his progeny includes top stakes winner Structor.

2012: Union Rags

2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags has gone on to become a top stallion; standing at Lane’s End in Kentucky, his top foals include Paradise Woods, Catalina CruiserFree Drop Billy, and Union Strike

2011: Ruler on Ice

Only the second gelding (neutered male horse) to win the Belmont, Ruler On Ice retired from racing in 2014 and is now a resident of owners George and Lori Hall’s farm in Kentucky. 

2010: Drosselmeyer

After winning the Belmont Stakes, Drosselmeyer went on to capure the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic with a thrilling late run. Now, he’s a stallion standing at Stud TNT in Brazil.

2009: Summer Bird

After Summer Bird’s Belmont Stakes win, he went on to capture the Travers Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. In 2012, he was purchased by the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association and was a stallion at the JBBA’s stud in Hokkaido, Japan. Unfortunately, Summer Bird had to be euthanized in December 2013 due to colic.

2008: Da’ Tara

Da’ Tara’s stunning Belmont win rewarded his bettors with $79 for a $2 win bet, and the horse would keep running until his retirement in 2009 when he was retired for breeding duties. He now stands at stud at Haras Los Aguacates in Venezuela. His best son is Switch Hitter, a Group 1 winner in Venezuela. 

2007: Rags to Riches

In an incredible year that saw top horses Curlin, Street Sense, and Hard Spun dominate headlines with their three-horse rivalry, it was the filly Rags to Riches who would capture that year’s Test of the Champion in a gritty victory. When her racing days were over, Rags to Riches was initially based at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., as a broodmare. She was exported to Ireland in 2009 has since returned to the U.S. Her son Rhett Butler, by Galileo, was a champion in Hungary, and she was bred to American Pharoah in 2020.


2006: Jazil

After winning the Belmont Stakes by going from last to first, Jazil, half-brother to 2007 Belmont winner Rags to Riches, was retired in 2007 and began stallion duty at Shadwell Farm in Kentucky. Unfortunately, he died in 2011 after sustaining an injury in his pasture. 

2005: Afleet Alex

After his Preakness and Belmont Stakes wins, Afleet Alex retired from racing as a fan favorite. These days, he’s a stallion at Gainesway Stud in Lexington, Ky. 

2004: Birdstone

Although Birdstone was a longshot winner of the Belmont Stakes – a $2 win bet returned $74 – he was a talented racehorse. After his Belmont win, he also took home the 2004 Travers Stakes before finishing seventh in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. He then retired to stud duty at Gainesway Farm; his son Mine That Bird won the 2009 Kentucky Derby, and five weeks later, his progeny Summer Bird captured the Belmont. Now fully retired, he spends his days greeting fans at Old Friends Farm where his next-door neighbor is his former stablemate Sun King.

2003: Empire Maker

Empire Maker’s Belmont Stakes win was only the start of his incredible impact on Thoroughbred racing: after his retirement to stud, Empire Maker would sire Grade 1 winners Bodemeister , Royal Delta, and Pioneerof the Nile before being purchased by the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association in 2010. In 2015, Empire Maker was brought back to the United States, and his stallion career continued to flourish at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky until a rare immune system disease claimed his life at the age of 20.    

2002: Sarava

Sarava delivered a shocking upset to War Emblem’s Triple Crown bid in the 2002 Belmont; when Sarava finished his racing career, he went to stud at Florida’s Cloverleaf Farm until 2012, when he retired to Old Friends Farm in Kentucky.

2001: Point Given

Point Given kept up his winning ways after his 2001 Preakness and Belmont victories: he went on to capture that year’s Haskell Invitational, and the Travers Stakes in 2001. He was declared the 2001 Horse of the Year, entered the Hall of Fame in 2010, and stood as a sire for 15 years after that. Now retired, he lives in the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park.

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram TikTok YouTube
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram TikTok YouTube