Fastest Belmont Stakes times in history: Horses that have competed with Secretariat’s record finish

June 7, 2024
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The last of the Triple Crown races is almost here. While there aren’t any horses eligible for a Triple Crown title in 2024, the event is still attended by thousands. 

There are 10 horses competing in the 2024 Belmont Stakes, including Mystik Dan, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, and Seize the Gray, the winner of this year’s Preakness Stakes. 

The final leg of the Triple Crown is the toughest of them all, with a long racetrack of 1 ½ miles. They don’t call it the “test of a champion” for nothing. 

Secretariat running the Belmont Stakes, next to a photo of the Belmont Stakes course

Secretariat still holds the record for the fastest Belmont Stakes time to this day. (Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images | Al Bello/Getty Images)

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The Belmont Stakes isn’t just the longest, it’s also the oldest Triple Crown race. The first Belmont Stakes took place in 1867 at Jerome Park in New York. 

Since then, the race has moved locations until it finally ended up at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, where it remains today. 

While the race’s popularity isn’t quite as great as that of the Kentucky Derby, it still brings thousands to the racecourse in their finest spring fashion to experience the feeling of watching a horse race live and in person. 

Those at home also get in on the fun by watching the race from the comfort of their living room or a local sports bar. Many watch for pure enjoyment, but others also watch with money hanging in the balance, as betting is a huge component of horse races, especially the Triple Crown events. 

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Of course, the legendary Secretariat ran the Belmont Stakes over 50 years ago, claiming his Triple Crown status. To this day, the beloved racehorse still holds the fastest Belmont Stakes time. The horse also set records yet to be broken for the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. 

Below is a list of the top Belmont Stakes finishers and their times. The horses’ times are from the Belmont Stakes website. 

Secretariat, 2:24 in 1973

Since 1973, no other horse has been able to beat the extremely fast record set by Secretariat, although others have come close. 

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Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes on June 9, 1973, making him the ninth winner of the Triple Crown. 

Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes

Secretariat set records for the fastest finishing times for all three Triple Crown races.  (Jerry Cooke/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

The racehorse owned by Penny Chenery is still widely considered to be the best in history. 

Easy Goer, 2:26 in 1989

Easy Goer was the winner of the 1989 Belmont Stakes. 

Bred and owned by Ogden Phipps, the horse was a favorite going into the race. During the Belmont Stakes, Easy Goer didn’t have an immediate lead on the rest of the group. Sunday Silence, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and looking for a Triple Crown title, was towards the front of the pack for much of the race.

Once Easy Goer got to third, he was able to make ground on Sunday Silence and Le Voyageur, who held on to the frontrunner spot for much of the race. Easy Goer ended up finishing the race first, followed by Sunday Silence and Le Voyageur. 

A.P. Indy, 2:26 in 1992

A.P. Indy is tied for the second-fastest time. He shares the honor with Easy Goer; both had a time of 2:26 flat. 

In the 1992 race, A.P. Indy was in the front of the pack, but dropped back slightly from the leaders before he was able to make up his ground and be right alongside the Preakness Stakes winner, Pine Bluff, towards the end of the race. 

A.P. Indy was able to break away from My Memoirs and Pine Bluff in the last stretch of the race, securing his Belmont Stakes win. 

Risen Star, 2:26 2/5 in 1988

Risen Star was the winner of the 1988 Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes. The horse was bred in Kentucky by Leone J. Peters and Arthur B. Hancock III. 

Winning Colors took the lead out of the gates, but Risen Star was not far behind. 

Risen Star racing in the Belmont Stakes

Risen Star wasn’t a leader from the start of the Belmont Stakes, but was able to make up ground and secure his victory.  (Getty Images)

At the first turn, he held onto the second place slot. At one time in the race, Winning Colors had about a four-length lead. 

Risen Star, the son of Secretariat, closed the large gap.

His lead grew bigger on all those behind him, and he ended up winning the race by a large margin. 

Point Given, 2:26 2/5 in 2001

In 2001, Point Given was the American Horse of the Year. 

He won the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes that year, after coming in fifth in the Kentucky Derby. 

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The horse was bred in Kentucky by The Thoroughbred Corporation and was owned by Prince Ahmed bin Salman. 

Gallant Man, 2:26 3/5 in 1957

Next up is Gallant Man, who disappointed at the Kentucky Derby, just missing the mark to win when his jockey, Bill Shoemaker, misjudged the finish line, allowing Iron Liege to take the title.  

In the Belmont Stakes, though, Gallant Man was able to secure the win, beating out favorite Bold Ruler. 

He held the record for the fastest Belmont time until Secretariat topped it in 1973. 

American Pharoah, 2:26.65 in 2015

The latest horse to set a Belmont record was American Pharoah in 2015. 

American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes

American Pharoah was a Triple Crown winner in 2015. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

American Pharoah was a Triple Crown-winning horse, the 12th in history. He became the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

Since American Pharoah, only one other horse has been a Triple Crown winner. In 2018, Justify joined the list. 

Affirmed, 2:26 4/5 in 1978

Affirmed, the 1978 Triple Crown winner, was also one of the fastest to ever race in the Belmont Stakes. 

He finished with a time of 2:26 4/5 in the 1978 Belmont Stakes. His biggest rival in his pivotal racing year was Alydar. 

While Affirmed was able to become a Triple Crown winner, Alydar was never far behind, finishing second in all three races. 

Tabasco Cat, 2:26 4/5 in 1994

Tabasco Cat was the winner of the 1994 Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes. He matched Affirmed’s Belmont Stakes times with his 1994 win. 

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Tabasco Cat was the second horse out of the gates in the 1994 Belmont Stakes. 

Go for Gin was in first for much of the race, but Tabasco Cat crept up on the outside. 

Tabasco Cat took his lead near the end of the race and became the winner of the Belmont Stakes. 

Creme Fraiche, 2:27 in 1985

Rounding out this list is Creme Faiche, with a time of 2:27 flat. 

Creme Fraiche was in the rear for most of the race, where the horses maintained a fast pace throughout. 

Creme Fraiche narrowly won the race. 



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