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Belmont Stakes vs. Preakness Stakes: What separates the two horse racing events from each other

The last two races in the journey to becoming a Triple Crown winner in thoroughbred horse racing occur at the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. 

The winner of the Triple Crown series must first claim victory at the Kentucky Derby in early May, the Preakness Stakes later that month, and, finally, the Belmont Stakes in early June. 

Read below to learn about the history and differences between these Triple Crown races.


  1. What is the Belmont Stakes?
  2. What is the Preakness Stakes?
  3. What is the difference between the Preakness and Belmont?
  4. How much longer is the Belmont than the Preakness?
  5. Which horse had the fastest times for the Belmont and the Preakness?

1. What is the Belmont Stakes?

The Belmont Stakes is the final challenge for a thoroughbred horse to become a Triple Crown winner. It occurs every year in June, at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The Belmont track features large turns and a lengthy homestretch that has tested the limits of the best horses. 

Millions of people from around the world watch the Belmont annually, and some of the most prominent members of American thoroughbred horse racing attend the race. For well over a century, some of the greatest horses have cemented their legacy on the track, including Secretariat, widely considered the greatest racehorse ever. Secretariat owns the record for fastest finish at the Belmont. 


Horse racers at the Belmont need to take several factors into consideration to achieve victory at the track, including conserving the stamina of their horses while being able to go the distance against some of the best breeds in the racing world. The Belmont takes place approximately five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks following the conclusion of the Preakness Stakes. 

2. What is the Preakness Stakes?

The Preakness Stakes takes place annually the third Saturday of May at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Occurring two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, the race is the second challenge racehorses must overcome on the road to the Triple Crown prize. 

The Preakness Stakes race track

Founded in 1873, the race is named after the horse Preakness, who won at the Dinner Party Stakes in 1870. 

The Preakness nearly always attracts a lot of attention and viewership, especially for the Triple Crown series fans and bettors. 


3. What is the difference between the Preakness and Belmont? 

The Preakness and the Belmont are both Triple Crown races, but they do have some differences.

The Preakness is held the third Saturday of May, while the Belmont Stakes is held three weeks later in June. The distance of the two races differs slightly, with the Belmont being the longer of the two. 

Another difference between the two is how long they have been around. The Belmont is the oldest race in the Triple Crown Series, established in 1867, followed by the Preakness in 1873 and the Kentucky Derby in 1875.

Racehorse running on a track

The two races take place in different parts of the country. The setting for the Preakness Stakes is the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, while the Belmont Stakes is in Elmont, New York.  

The Preakness and Belmont also have some different traditions, such as the songs that are sung. For example, the song “New York, New York” is sung at the Belmont while Preakness attendees sing “Maryland, My Maryland.”

4. How much longer is the Belmont than the Preakness?

The Preakness Stakes is the second-longest track in the Triple Crown Series at 1 3/16 miles long, while the Belmont is the longest, measured at 1 ½ miles.  In comparison, most other pre-Derby races for young horses are 1 1/8 miles long, making the Belmont one of the longest tracks in the country. 

The Belmont is commonly considered the most difficult of the Triple Crown races because of the demanding distance. The race has been named the “test of the champions.”

5. Which horse had the fastest times for the Belmont and the Preakness?  

Secretariat and jockey Ron Turcotte racing in the Belmont Stakes

Secretariat holds the record for the fastest speed for all three of the Triple Crown races. To this day, no other horse has been able to beat his record-breaking times. 

Secretariat finished the Kentucky Derby with a time of 1:59 2/5. He then went on to win the Preakness and set the record of 1:53. Secretariat finished out the Triple Crown series at the Belmont, winning by an astounding 31 lengths. 

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