Belmont Park is a major Thoroughbred horse-racing facility located in Elmont, New York, just outside New York City limits. It first opened on May 4,1905 and it is typically open for racing throughout May and June and into late July, and again from late September through late October. It is widely known as the home of the Belmont Stakes, regarded as the Test of the Champion, Belmont hosted its largest crowd in 2004, when 120,139 saw Smarty Jones upset by Birdstone in its Triple Crown bid. Belmont Park is operated by the non-profit New York Racing Association, as are Aqueduct, Belmont Park also has a history of early aviation shows and tournaments that dates back to the early 1900s. According to the plans being discussed, Belmonts stands would be heated, additional barns built for Aqueducts 400 horses, in addition, video lottery machines would be introduced. A new entity would operate Belmont from fall to spring while the New York Racing Association would operate Saratoga Race Course in the summer. Any plans the former governor might have had for the track alignment likely left office with him when Spitzer was forced to resign amid a scandal in March 2008. The Belmont Stakes was named after financier and sportsman August Belmont, Sr. who helped fund the race, other sources say Belmont Park was named in honor of his son—August Belmont II, a key member of the Westchester Racing Association, which established the racecourse. The race was first run in 1867 at Jerome Park Racetrack in the Bronx, in 1937, the wrought iron gates that bore an illustration of that first Belmont Stakes were donated to the track by August Belmont IIs sole surviving son, Perry Belmont. The gates are now on the floor of Belmont Parks clubhouse. The first post parade in the United States was at the 14th Belmont, Secretariats finishing time in his 1973 Belmont victory set a world record for 1 1⁄2 miles on dirt, a world record which still stands. The 31-length victory clinched the first Triple Crown in 25 years, a statue of Secretariat is in the center of the Belmont paddock. Other memorable performances in Belmont Park history include the opening of the track in 1905 with the dead heat between Sysonby and Race King in the Met Cap. In 1923, Belmont Park was host to a duel between the American and English champions, Zev, winner of the Kentucky Derby, against Papyrus. Zev won by five lengths in front of the biggest crowd for a race in a hundred years. Belmont Park was the site of the victory of Foolish Pleasure over champion filly Ruffian in a 1975 match race. Ruffian broke down during the race and had to be euthanized, she is buried near the line in the infield at Belmont Park. The Marlboro, a key event of the Fall Championship meets in the 1970s and 1980s, the third is the Alabama Stakes, run at Saratoga
A statue of Secretariat stands in the middle of the walking ring
The elegant, ivy-framed arched windows of the Belmont grandstand lurk behind the tote board in the backyard in this 1999 photo; the tote board has changed to a digital tote and TV display since then. The current grandstand, Thoroughbred racing's largest, was completed in 1968 after five years of renovations to the Belmont complex.
Horses and lead ponies in a pre-race post parade at Belmont. The race track was the site of the first post parade in the United States.
The "Woody's Corner" display in the first-floor clubhouse lobby commemorates the five consecutive Belmont Stakes winners trained by Woody Stephens from 1982 to 1986.