The First Belmont at “The World’s Finest Race Course”

Though the first Belmont Stakes was run in 1867, it wasn’t run at Belmont Park until 1905.

The race was inaugurated at Jerome Park in what is now the Bronx, where it stayed until 1889, when it moved to Morris Park, also in the Bronx. Run there until Morris Park closed in 1904, the Belmont Stakes made its debut at its eponymous track on May 24, 1905.

Belmont Park had opened earlier that month with much fanfare; days of coverage were devoted to the opening of what one headline called, “The World’s Finest Race Course.”  One preview proclaimed, “The biggest thing in the shape of a race course that ever has been conceived and achieved, will be opened for racing on Thursday of this week.”

Among the splashy track’s new features was the mile and a half oval with which we are all familiar, but this was not the “Belmont course,” according to an early map of the new park.

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