The purse for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the third jewel of the Triple Crown, will be $1.5 million for the 146th renewal June 7, 2014, the New York Racing Association announced Dec. 28. The 1 1/2-mile race had been worth $1 million since 1998.
The announcement comes on the heels of the Maryland Jockey Club deciding to increase the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) value from $1 million to $1.5 million for the 2014 running May 17. The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), set for May 3, has a purse of $2 million; the Derby purse was doubled to its current level in 2005.
Along with the increase, NYRA said purses would be paid to the first eighth finishers in the Belmont; previously, the top five runners shared in the purse.
"This Belmont Stakes is the main attraction of the biggest day of the year at Belmont Park, and we feel this increase suitably reflects the race's status as one of the sport's prestigious Triple Crown events," Martin Panza, senior vice president of racing operations for NYRA, said in a statement.
Panza credited NYRA's racing committee that consists of Steven Duncker, Bobby Flay, Barry Ostrager, Leonard Riggio, and Rick Violette with "making the increase possible."
The 2014 Belmont will be worth $800,000 to the winner, $280,000 to second, $150,000 to third, $100,000 to fourth, $60,000 to fifth, $45,000 to sixth, $35,000 to seventh, and $30,000 to eighth. In recent years, the Belmont Stakes purse had been shared among the first five finishers on a 60-20-11-6-3 percentage basis.
"This purse increase helps ensure the fullest, most competitive field possible, and even an owner whose horse finishes eighth can earn good purse money for his or her commitment," said NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes.