The Test of the Champion

The Test of the Champion, von Stade Gallery, NMR, 2018

The Test of the Champion, von Stade Gallery. On display from June 9, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

This year's fine art exhibition celebrated the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes, the oldest of the Triple Crown classics. Named after August Belmont I, the Belmont Stakes is considered to be the true "test of the champion" - the last jewel of the Triple Crown that tests the speed and endurance of the 3-year-old contenders vying for their place in Thoroughbred racing history. First run at Jerome Park in 1867, a filly named Ruthless won its inaugural running (and earned her place in the Hall of Fame). In fact, more winners of the Belmont Stakes (39) have entered the Hall of Fame than winners of either the Kentucky Derby (35) or the Preakness (33). The Belmont was next run at Morris Park before moving to its eventual home at Belmont Park in 1905 (with a minor exception in the 1960s when the track was closed for a major renovation, reopening in 1968 in time for the Belmont Stakes Centennial).

This special exhibition traces the history of the Belmont Stakes, from its early days at Jerome Park to the racing superstars of the Twentieth Century, by pairing artwork and portraits from the Museum Collection with historical facts found in the official race charts and newspaper archives.

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