The Belmont’s Jewish Backstory


Eliza McGraw’s story on a Jewish connection to the Belmont Stakes (‘Matchless Jews’: The Belmont’s Jewish Backstory,” June 10) misses a much bigger connection.

August Belmont Sr., for whom the Belmont Stakes were named, was born Jewish in Germany. The family name was Schonberg (German for beautiful mountain), which he later changed to Belmont (French for beautiful mountain). The current race is held at Belmont racetrack, but the track is named for his son August Belmont Jr., best known as the builder of the IRT subway. The family had lost all Jewish affiliation by the second generation.

Perhaps the Belmont stakes should be better identified as a symbol of assimilation in America, not just a sports event.

Lawrence, L.I.