The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) horse race, open to three year old Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds (57 kg); fillies carry 121 pounds (55 kg). The race is the third and final leg of the US Triple Crown, following five weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes.
The attendance at the Belmont Stakes ranks fourth in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races, including the Breeders' Cup. The attendance at the Belmont Stakes typically trails only the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Kentucky Oaks. For more information, see American Thoroughbred Racing top Attended Events. The 2004 Belmont Stakes drew a massive television audience of 21.9 million viewers and had the highest household viewing rate since 1977 when Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown.
The first Belmont Stakes was held at Jerome Park Racetrack in The Bronx, built in 1866 by stock market speculator Leonard Jerome (1817–1891) and financed by August Belmont, Sr. (1816–1890), for whom the race was named. The race continued to be held at Jerome Park until 1890, when it was moved to the nearby facility, Morris Park Racecourse. The race remained there until the May 1905 opening of the new Belmont Park, 430-acre (1.7 km²) racetrack in Elmont, New York, on Long Island just outside the New York City borough of Queens.