06/10/2016 10:03AM

Belmont Stakes 2016: Inside the numbers


We took a look at both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, with an eye toward how some of the contenders matched up to similar runners in the recent history of those races. Let’s do the same here with the Belmont Stakes, but we’ll issue the same warning as in those articles. Caveat emptor: These stats are mostly intended to be fun, playful, silly, or just interesting discussion starters, so use them at your own risk when upgrading or downgrading who you’re likely to bet in the Belmont.

Derby losers that then won the Preakness

Exaggerator comes into the Belmont as the winner of the Preakness, finally having gotten the best of his archrival Nyquist. Nyquist, of course, will miss the Belmont due to a fever, so Exaggerator should be a legitimate favorite in the Belmont. Since 1963, 19 others lost the Derby, won the Preakness, and then competed in the Belmont, and the record for those runners is an impressive 19-7-5-2. Interestingly, all but four of those 19 runners faced the Derby winner again, and none of those four won, with the best effort being Curlin’s runner-up finish to Rags to Riches in the 2007 Belmont.

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Skipping the Preakness

In 2000, Commendable won the Belmont Stakes on five weeks’ rest, after competing in the Kentucky Derby and skipping the Preakness, thus ushering in a new era. Since then, every year at least a couple Derby runners have waited the five weeks to take a shot at the Belmont. Quite a few were successful. Since Commendable’s win, Empire Maker, Birdstone, Jazil, Summer Bird, Union Rags, and Palace Malice all followed his path to Belmont Stakes success. This year, as many as five horses – Brody’s Cause, Creator, Destin, Suddenbreakingnews, and Trojan Nation – will try to follow that path, the same number that tried unsuccessfully last year. The record for those runners since 2000: 52-7-8-5

Triple Crown debut in the Belmont

Every year there also are a number of starters in the Belmont that did not run in the Derby or Preakness. Barring scratches this year, those runners will include Governor Malibu, Gettysburg, Seeking the Soul, and Forever d’Oro. A number of Belmont winners match this profile, especially in the past 10 years as Da’Tara, Drosselmeyer, Ruler On Ice, and Tonalist all won the Belmont in their only Triple Crown start. The record for those runners since 1963: 227-17-11-18


Stradivari ran in the Preakness in just his fourth career start, and he finished fourth. He’ll be trying to emulate Touch Gold who ran fourth in the 1997 Preakness before winning the Belmont Stakes. Since 1963, Touch Gold is the only winner of the Belmont to skip the Derby and then finish out of the money in the Preakness. The record for those runners since 1963: 27-1-3-1.


Lani will join Exaggerator as the only runner to compete in all three legs of the 2016 Triple Crown, after running ninth in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Preakness. Lani will hope to emulate Quadrangle, winner of the 1964 Belmont who was out of the money in both the Derby (fifth) and Preakness (fourth). Since 1963, 22 other horses competed in the Belmont after not hitting the board in both the Derby and Preakness; their combined Belmont record is 22-1-3-2.

Repeat Sires

Last year, perhaps you may remember that American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes. His sire is Pioneerof the Nile, the same sire as Gettysburg in this year’s Belmont Stakes. There hasn’t been a sire to win consecutive Belmont Stakes since 1951-1952, when Counterpoint and One Count won, both of whom were sired by Count Fleet who was himself a Belmont Stakes winner in 1943.