A Filly wins the Belmont Stakes


Her name is Rags to Riches and today she made history. Twenty two fillies have raced in the Belmont Stakes, the longest of the Triple Crown races at a mile and a half, but only two have ever won. The most recent was in 1905.

Lots a hype surrounded Rags to Riches before the race, so it felt like a big let down when she stumbled out of the gate. Then she was four wide at the first turn and, for most of the race, she remained at fifth place. At that last turn, however, she turned on the speed, soared past the other horses, ran neck and neck with Curlin in the home stretch, and nosed him out for the win. What an incredible race. Way to go, girl!

Update: Thanks to commenter Steve Crickmore who pointed me to the video of the race on ESPN. It’s on the right side of the screen. This race is a must see, folks. By the way, as the announcer says at the end of the video, the filly who won back in 1905 did so when the race was just a mile and a quarter, making Rags to Riches’ win that much more historic.

Update II: The video of the race has been posted on YouTube. This version has much better sound:

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  • D.Dore

    You know, I’ve been thinking that there’s been an awful lot of unequality among the animals that we subjugate for entertainment purposes. Rag’s win just goes to show it! I think it’s high time we institute affirmative action to make sure that endeavors such as the Belmont can’t discriminate unfairly against the down trodden equestrian females!

  • George

    Yes, I’m dismayed that fillies are so underrepresented and undersupported as you pointed out. I’ve had enough with this misogynistic horse race world. We need a Title 9 for the race track!


  • Steve Crickmore

    You can watch the video of the race on the right. The Mahablog also has a good commentary on the breeding Of Curlin and Rags to Riches and the video and background of the fastest Belmont ever by Secretariat in 1973.

  • One of the better races I’ve seen.

  • Both the Preakness and the Belmont were thrillers this year.

    This one had nearly a quater mile stretch run nose to nose with a photo finish.

  • jdavenport


    What a great race.

  • bryanD

    Thanks for the link, steve. It was a great race.

    Wasn’t the same on radio. On radio (FOX and ABC) the filly was called a “girl”. Again and again.

    They said “filly” once, and from then on, the horse was a “girl”.

    Like the commercial where an opthamologist is called an “eye doctor”.

    IRS-NEA plot. (Proof? Compare McGuffey’s to “Dick and Jane”, or the Constitution to the PATRIOT Act. OY!)

  • Bob

    Don’t forget that the filly carried 5 less pounds around that mile and a half.

  • Bob, I bet many, if not every horse, in yesterday’s race had different weights that they were carrying. Sometimes it’s to make up for a jockey weighing less than a required weight. It’s done to make the playing field as even as possible. Here’s more information:

    SCALE OF WEIGHTS: Fixed weights to be carried by horses in a race according to age, distance, sex, and time of year.

    So the fact that the filly carried five fewer pounds is not a big deal.

  • nehemiah

    The five pounds I don’t think was what made the race (as Rags to Riches also stumbled a bit at the start and went wide most of the way on the turns — both disadvantages), but in Triple Crown races, all males carry the same weight (126 pounds). All fillies would be allowed to carry 121 pounds. It is only when they get to the “handicap” division (usually for older horses), that they get assigned different weights according to ability as well as sex. Thus, yesterday all horses were carrying 126 pounds except for Rags to Riches, who carried 121.

    By the way, she did a great job and beat a very good horse in Curlin. She also won the Kentucky Oaks (a major filly race), and has a good chance to be considered the champion three year-old of the year.

  • Nehemiah,

    You make very good points. Rags to Riches won in spite of a stumble (most horses wouldn’t recover as well as she did) and for being on the outside, which means she actually ran a slightly longer race than Curlin did since he was more to the inside.

    And thanks for the reminder on the Triple Crown race weights. I forgot about that.

  • Paul

    Thanks…great race!

  • I was far more entertained by hearing the announcer yell
    “I’m a wild and crazy guy” a couple times.