As the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes has special significance. Belmont Park, in Elmont, New York, is the place where some of the most thrilling wins have taken place and major records have been set by horses like Man o’ War and Secretariat. It’s also the toughest race, nicknamed “Test of the Champion” with its mile-and-a-half stretch requiring a great deal of stamina from the horses. At this year’s race, the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes, a horse named Tapwrit won by two lengths.
There was no hope of a Triple Crown winner this year after Cloud Computing overtook Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming at the Preakness Stakes. Neither horse ran in the Belmont Stakes. The field was cut down to 11 horses after Japanese colt Epicharis was injured shortly before the event.
The favorite to win was Irish War Cry. Fan favorite Patch, a one-eyed horse that gained a huge number of adoring fans leading up to the Kentucky Derby earlier this spring was also a contender. Tapwrit had 5–1 odds to win but ended up overtaking favorite Irish War Cry in the final stretch. Patch finished third.
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay was hoping for a repeat of last year. Flay bought an interest in Creator who went on to win the race in 2016. This year, Flay purchased a 25 percent interest in the horse J Boys Echo. The horse had 10-1 odds to win and ended up finishing in ninth place, no doubt a disappointment to Flay.
As with the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the day is about fashion just as much as racing and betting. The race is an Event with a capital E and it’s all about seeing and being seen. Hats, in particular, are a big deal. A number of the 57,729 people in attendance on Saturday sported large, elaborate, and unique hats. There was also a Longines Fashion Contest to crown the Most Elegant Woman.
Entertainment is also part of the day, and there was a trackside performance by the cast of Broadway hit On Your Feet! and a concert by pop star Andy Grammer.