With American Pharaoh trying to become the first horse in 37 years to sweep horse racing's Triple Crown, this year's Belmont Stakes will attract enormous attention from people all over the world.
We've attended the Belmont Stakes 27 times, including 12 times when a Triple Crown was on the line.
From that perspective, we offer this Insider's Guide to the Belmont Stakes.
When Is the Belmont Stakes?
- The Belmont Stakes is a 1 1/2-mile race run by three-year old thoroughbred horses. It is held at Belmont Park, in Elmont, New York.
- This year, the date of the Belmont Stakes is Saturday, June 6.
- Post time for the Belmont Stakes has not been definitively decided; it is often at about 6:30 p.m. Eastern time., and as late as 6:48 pm.
- The official Web site of the Belmont Stakes includes a bevy of information about the race and events leading up to the race, while the Belmont Park website includes more information. See also the security policies, which this year apply on Friday and Saturday, and note that outside alcohol is not allowed on Belmont Stakes Day or the day before.
Admission, Parking and Seating
- General Admission tickets cost $15 for the grandstand and $40 for the Clubhouse. For this first time in 2015, Belmont claims that it plans to cap total admission at 90,000, so go to Ticketmaster immediately and buy your tickets, so you don't have to buy them in the secondary market.
- You do not need a ticket for a seat to attend the races at Belmont Park. There is plenty of room for you to walk around and take in the sights.
- Parking gates open 8:00 am. Admission gates open 8:30 am. First race is at 11:35 am.
- Parking costs $20-$125 per car. The YELLOW lot is by far the easiest to exit at the end of the day, and in any lot, the best spots are the ones nearest the exit gates! Walk a little bit and save yourself hours of waiting in the parking lot.
- Belmont Park's 35,000 reserved seats are sold out. There is a secondary market on StubHub and eBay, where reserved seats, as of May 27, are selling for between $160 and $600 each.
- Before you buy, review this Buying Guide to Belmont Stakes tickets.
- If you arrive very early - probably by 7 am to wait on line for the gates to open - you may be able to snag a bench on the track apron, from which you should get a decent view of the race.
- As far as being able to see the race without a seat ticket, you can arrive early and grab a bench on the apron, so you can stand on the bench to see above the crowd. Otherwise, you will want to secure a spot at the rail several hours before the Belmont Stakes and hold it. The best rail spot is not near the finish line; it is near the top of the stretch. From there, you can see the far turn, where the race is often won or lost, and the whole of the stretch. The infield video screen will let you see the finish. Another viewing perspective is on the second or third floor, standing behind the seats, ideally to the right of an aisle so you can look through the break in the seats.
- If you want to see the horses in the paddock, you must arrive early, possibly before the previous race. You will not be able to go from the paddock to the rail and get a good view of the race.
- You may be able to find seats inside the track, or in the backyard park. Racetrack tradition dictates that when you place a personal item, such as a blanket, on a seat or table, you reserve it for the day.
- You can also put down your own chair or blanket in the backyard, and then try to gain a spot at the rail for the big race.
- The Long Island Railroad runs trains right to Belmont Park from Manhattan's Penn Station, Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue Terminal, and Jamaica Station. For information on fares, ticket-buying, handicap accessibility and travel tips, visit the LIRR's Belmont Stakes page. If you do take the train, buy a roundtrip ticket in New York, so that you don't have to wait on a long ticket line after the races.
- The LIRR experience was a disaster for fans at Belmont Stakes 2014 but tens of millions of dollars have been invested in improvements, so it should be much smoother this year.
Betting at the Track
- You can bet on any race at any time. For instance, you can bet on the Belmont Stakes, which is usually Race 11, even before the first race is run. Betting lines get longer as the day progresses, so if you know your selections ahead of time, try to bet many races at once.
- The self-betting terminals are intuitive and easy to use, and lines are shorter than at the manned betting windows. You purchase a betting voucher and insert it into the machine. Select the race you want to bet, the dollar amount, the type of bet, and then the numbers of the horses.
- Visit these machines early in the day, when there are no lines and plenty of people willing to show you the ropes. Then, when things heat up later in the day, you'll be an old pro.
Belmont Stakes Parties in NYC; Where to Watch the Belmont Stakes in NYC
For fans watching the race in NYC, the best Belmont Stakes parties in NYC, as well as after-parties, will be held at the following places, which are all terrific pubs with excellent food, drink, service and prices. Click the name for more info:
- Tir na nOg (33rd & 8th OR 315 W. 39th St.)
- Mustang Harry's (352 7th Ave. near 30th St.
- Brickyard Gastropub (52nd & 9th)
- In Queens, go to Courtyard Ale House at 40-18 Queens Boulevard.
- In Brooklyn, go to Kent Ale House in North Williamsburg.
Where to Bet the Belmont Stakes Online
If you search "How to Bet the Belmont Stakes Online" or any variation of it, most of the top results lead you to illegal, shady or at least questionable betting sites.
Here is a list of legitimate online betting services and links to their Websites.
NYRA Rewards is operated by The New York Racing Association, which operates New York’s three major thoroughbred racing tracks; it offers free, instant accounts to residents of New York and Connecticut.
Belmont Stakes Television and Radio Coverage
The Belmont Stakes will be broadcast nationally on NBC. The program will likely start at 4 pm, with earlier coverage on NBC Sports' cable channel.
HRRN will also provide free online streaming for the Belmont Stakes, and live streaming should also be available on the website for NBC Sports.
Hotels for the Belmont Stakes
Many fans choose to stay in New York City. Read our complete guide to NYC.
The Triple Crown
- Since 1978, 12 horses have won the first two legs but fallen short in the “Test of a Champion.” In 2008, FindingDulcinea reviewed the 34-Year Drought, linking to articles and race videos of all 17 horses who have won two legs of the Triple Crown since 1978 (including 11 who came to NY with a chance for the Triple Crown). We wrote a complementary article opining that the Triple Crown has always been hard to win.
- Click here for an article that celebrates Secretariat's extraordinary triumph in the Belmont Stakes to capture the Triple Crown on June 9, 1973.
History and Traditions of the Belmont Stakes
- The Belmont Stakes is held on the first Saturday that falls on or after June 5. The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May; the Preakness Stakes is held two weeks later, and the Belmont is held three weeks after the Preakness.
- The race has been run since 1867, except for a two-year hiatus in 1911-12. Originally held at Jerome Park and Morris Park in the Bronx, it moved to Belmont Park when that facility was built in 1905 and—except for a move to Aqueduct during a renovation period from 1964–67—has been run at Belmont Park ever since.
- The official Web site of The Belmont Stakes includes a list of all winners and other historical information.
- Sports Illustrated writes about Woody Stephens, a colorful trainer who will forever be associated with the Belmont Stakes. He won the race five times in a row, from 1982 to 1986, a feat many racing writers consider as unbeatable as DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak.
News About the Belmont Stakes
- Equidaily is the single best source of online information about horse racing. It aggregates links to informative, interesting and provocative horse racing stories and opinion from global newspapers and blogs.
- Join the Thoroughbred Racing of New York group on Facebook to share with and learn from some of the most knowledgable and passionate horse racing fans anywhere.
- The Daily Racing Form offers news and information about the race, and data for making selections. It offers news, analysis and transcripts of chats with racing experts.
Books About the Belmont Stakes - perfect timing for Father's Day!
- "To the Swift: Classic Triple Crown Horses and Their Race for Glory," is a collection of writing on the Triple Crown from famous authors and sportswriters.
- "Finished Lines: A Collection of Memorable Writings on Throughbred Racing," is an anthology that “captures the essence of the sport that is both exhilarating and breathtaking, frustrating, and cruel.”
- "Belmont Park: A Century of Champions" features portraits of 70 Belmont Stakes champions by Richard Stone Reeves, with accompanying essays.