Belmont Stakes: 21 years of dominance between two of the greatest trainers

The two top trainers have achieved unprecedented success at Belmont Stakes in the 21st Century...

Since 2000, a pair of Hall of Fame trainers have recorded a trio of victories in the Belmont Stakes.

However, one of them has witnessed another nine of his horses finish in the money during that time while the other has celebrated two of his entries completing the Triple Crown.

No matter what criteria is used, Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher are clearly the top two trainers in the Belmont Stakes in the 21st century.

Over their respective careers, the two trainers have a combined 8,264 victories, with 22 coming in Triple Crown races. The wins have generated over $725million in earnings, and 15 Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer.

It's really no surprise that these two great trainers would lead the way at the Belmont Stakes over the last 20 years.

Bob Baffert's Belmont accomplishments

Baffert will not be adding to his record at this year's final leg of the Triple Crown due to a suspension handed down by the New York Racing Association. He was handed a ban as a result of concerns over the administration of performance-enhancing substances.

The American has received an indefinite ban after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for illegal levels of betamethasone.

Despite his suspension, it shouldn't diminish Baffert's three wins in the Belmont Stakes since 2001: American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018, claiming the Triple Crown with their victories.

It was the first time horses had swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes since Affirmed in 1978. Baffert's first Belmont Stakes win of the century and in his career came with Point Given in 2001, who had previously won the Preakness.

Baffert has also had his share of disappointment in the Belmont Stakes, with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, and War Emblem in 2002 all entering the race after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown, only to fail to make it to the winner's circle.

Those instances only magnified American Pharoah's accomplishment in 2015, not just for Baffert for all of horse racing.

Todd Pletcher's success in the Belmont Stakes

Despite his success in the Belmont as well as a pair of wins in the Kentucky Derby, Pletcher has yet to win a Preakness Stakes. It means he hasn't had a horse enter the Belmont Stakes with a shot at capturing the Triple Crown.

Interestingly enough, he won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes in 2017, but with two different horses, Always Dreaming and Tapwrit, respectively.

He also won the Belmont Stakes with Palace Malice in 2013 and Rags to Riches in 2007, the third filly to win the race - the first since 1905 - and the only one to get a victory at the current distance of a mile and a half. In addition to his three wins, Pletcher has also recorded six runner-ups and three third-place finishes.

Pletcher is expected to have two entries in the Belmont Stakes on June 5, with Known Agenda and Overtook likely to be entered.

Of the two, Known Agenda is widely considered to give Pletcher the better chance to pick up his fourth Belmont Stakes win to break the tie with Bob Baffert.

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