New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

August Belmont

August Belmont (Horse racing.  Born, Alzey, Prussia, Dec. 8, 1813; died, New York, NY, Nov. 24, 1890.)  From its opening in 1837, the private bank of August Belmont was a mainstay of the New York financial community.  Belmont also became the most important arbiter of manners and style in the City’s emerging social class.  But the statement by some biographers that he introduced thoroughbred racing to the U.S. is false.  Belmont helped revive interest in the sport and served as first president of the American Jockey Club, which built Jerome Park (in what is now The Bronx) in 1867.  He had no previous racing experience and was persuaded to take the post by another influential social figure, Leonard Jerome (later Sir Winston Churchill’s maternal grandfather), who was the major backer of the project.  Once involved, however, Belmont became a principal figure in New York racing, opening the original Nursery Stud on Long Island and helping found New Jersey’s Monmouth Park (1870).  After 1882, Belmont no longer raced his horses, but did remain active in the administrative side of the sport.  There is little doubt that his involvement added to the social cache of racing, but his biggest contribution was probably his son August II, who rescued the sport in New York by building Belmont Park (which he named for his father) in 1905.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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