August Belmont, Jr. is an American financier, race horse breeder, owner of the Belmont Park race track, owner of the first regularly operated subway in New York, president of the NYAC and a 1989 NYAC Hall of Fame inductee.
August Belmont was born on February 18th, 1853 in New York City. His father, August Belmont, Sr, was a prominent politician in the pre and post Civil War United States.
August Belmont, Jr. was a 1875 graduate of Harvard University, where he was a member of the track and field team. Belmont worked for his father’s bank, August Belmont & Co., after graduating from Harvard. His father passed away in 1890, at which point he became president of the company.
Belmont was elected president of the NYAC in 1893. He was known as an ardent supporter of Club athletes and generously contributed to the NYAC’s coffers. Belmont suggested that the Club purchase a piece of property at 6th Avenue and 59th Street, and loaned the Club $20,000 to see it through.
In 1902, Belmont founded the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, which built the first regularly operated subway in New York City.
In 1905, Belmont built a race track in Elmont, New York, on Long Island, which he named “Belmont Park” in honor of his late father. Belmont Park is the location of the third leg of the triple crown, the Belmont Stakes. August Belmont was very passionate about horse racing and, in addition to building his renowned track, was an accomplished breeder, too.
The most famous horse bred under Belmont was Man o’War, one of the greatest race horses in history. Between 1919 and 1920, Man o’War won 20 races, including the 1920 Belmont Stakes. During that span, he lost only one race. The horse was so remarkable that, in 1920, The New York Times declared that the two outstanding athletes of the year were Man o'War, and Babe Ruth.
Man o’War and Babe Ruth as the two outstanding athletes of 1920.
Belmont passed away on December 10th, 1924.