June 22, 2024

By the numbers: a look at the prospective Belmont Stakes field of 13

Classic Empire has a half-sister on offer (c) Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography

As of this writing late Monday afternoon there are as many as 13 possible entries for Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1). If there’s a baker’s dozen of trivia morsels you’re after, here’s a look at the prospective Belmont field “by the numbers.”

1 — Once a more important stepping stone, this is the number of Belmont winners since 2000 that have used the Peter Pan (G3) as their final prep. That single horse was Tonalist in 2014. The only possibility from the Peter Pan this year is Meantime.

2 — Once banned from competing in the race for a 40-year stretch, this is the number of geldings that have ever reached the Belmont Stakes winner’s circle. Looking to have his named etched next to Crème Fraiche (1985) and Ruler On Ice (2011) will be the New York-bred Twisted Tom, who makes his graded stakes debut following back-to-back wins in the $100,000 Private Terms and $125,000 Federico Tesio at Laurel.

3 — Only this number have ever won the Belmont after previously winning the Santa Anita Derby (G1): Affirmed (1978), A.P. Indy (1992) and Point Given (2001). Possibly looking to join that illustrious group is Gormley.

4 — As long as were talking about winners of other stakes winning the Belmont, let’s give it up for the number of Gotham (G3) scorers — Native Dancer (1953), Jaipur (1962), Secretariat (1973) and Easy Goer (1989) — that went on to take the third jewel of the Triple Crown. Tough acts to follow for J Boys Echo.

5 — Kenny McPeek has saddled this number of entrants in the Belmont, and his strike rate is 20% with Sarava (2002) having scored the massive upset back in 2002. At 70-1, he remains the longest shot ever to win the race. McPeek relies on Senior Investment this year.

6 — This is the number of Belmonts in which trainer Todd Pletcher has run multiple entries. The future Hall of Famer has won the race twice, with Rags to Riches (2007), who was a single entry, and with Palace Malice (2013), who was one of five he saddled. Tapwrit is arguably his best chance for a third victory.

7 — In the early decades of the Belmont, neighboring New Jersey produced this many winners of the race, most notably Henry of Navarre (1894) and the filly Tanya (1905). However, Irish War Cry will look to snap a drought of 104 years for “Joisey” on Saturday.

8 — The number of Belmont winners born outside North America, the most recent being the Irish-bred Go and Go in 1990. Epicharis would be the first horse bred in Japan to win any of the three U.S. classics and the first to win the Belmont in his U.S. debut.

9 — The number of individual trainers that have won consecutive renewals of the Belmont. The late Woody Stephens famously won five in a row from 1982-86, while David McDaniel (1871-73), Frank McCabe (1886-88), and D. Wayne Lukas (1994-96) all won three straight. Vying to become the 10th on this list is Steve Asmussen, who will saddle Lookin at Lee after winning last year’s Belmont with Creator.

10 — The number of Belmont winners whose names started with the letter “H”: Harry Basett (1871), Hanover (1887), Henry of Navarre (1894), Hastings (1896), Hourless (1917), Hurryoff (1933), High Gun (1954), Hail to All (1965), High Echelon (1970), and Hansel (1991). Hollywood Handsome, anyone?

11 — OK, finding something relevant concerning this prime number and Multiplier has been a little tough. We’ll continue along the mathematical track a bit and note he’s a cleverly-named son of The Factor and out of Trippi Street, who happened to be 11 years old when this colt was born. Ironically, Multiplier’s second dam was named Ten Downing Street, which May or May Not (see what I did there?) have a new resident after Thursday’s British General Election.

12 — Obviously the number of furlongs each of the Belmont entrants will travel, but also how many horses that have previously run in the Belmont for historic Calumet Farm, which will be represented Saturday by Patch. The stable’s lone Belmont winners were Triple Crown heroes Whirlaway (1941) and Citation (1948), while current farm owner Brad Kelley’s first stab at the “Test of the Champion” was with Preakness (G1) winner Oxbow in 2013, who wound up second to Palace Malice.

13 — The number of two-year-old champions since 1937, a year after polls were first introduced, that came back at three to win the Belmont. Classic Empire will seek to join Bimelech (1939-40), Count Fleet (1942-43), Pavot (1944-45), Citation (1947-48), Native Dancer (1952-53), Nashua (1954-55), Needles (1955-56), Riva Ridge (1971-72), Secretariat (1972-73), Seattle Slew (1976-77), Affirmed (1977-78), Easy Goer (1988-89), and American Pharoah (2014-15) in what has become an increasingly rare feat.