• La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 3 days ago
  • Rubilinda (6-5) finds the wire just in time to take the Pebbles Stakes.Posted 3 days ago
  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 3 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 6 days ago
  • Romantic Vision (6-1) takes the sloppy Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.Posted 9 days ago
  • Unique Bella (1-5) returns with a clear victory in the L. A. Woman (G3) at Santa Anita.Posted 9 days ago
  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 9 days ago
  • War Flag (9-1) wins the stretch battle in Belmont's Flower Bowl (G1).Posted 9 days ago
  • Separationofpowers (9-5) impresses in the Frizette at Belmont Park.Posted 9 days ago
  • Roy H (4-5) lives up to favoritism in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.Posted 10 days ago
Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
The Dark Horse

Belmont Stakes 2013 - A Battle of Heavyweights

Here we go everyone! The third and final leg of this year’s Triple Crown races is setting up to be one of the better Belmont’s in recent memory. Many of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness runners return as these three year olds battle it out one more time; this time at a daunting 12 furlongs! Will Orb return to his Derby glory? Can Oxbow win on or near the lead again? Or will someone new have their nose first on the wire? Let’s take a look at this year’s Belmont!


#5 – Orb (1st Kentucky Derby, 4th Preakness)
Orb certainly had an impressive run as of late winning his 5th in a row in the Kentucky Derby before getting stuck on the rail and being unable to catch rival Oxbow in the Preakness. Orb certainly likes to position himself wide on the far turn and have a clear shot at the finish line down the lane. He looked uncomfortable in the Preakness and just didn’t have his best that day. Still, he is a very good horse and should be considered in the Belmont. The apparent lack of pace in this race shouldn’t scare off Orb fans as he has closed in and won on some slower paces in races past. He should be able to relax and sit back comfortably until jockey Joel Rosario asks him to go.

























The last Derby Winner to also win the Belmont was Thunder Gulch in 1995 and before that was Swale in 1984.

#7 – Oxbow (6th Kentucky Derby, 1st Preakness)
Oxbow surprised many as the 15-1 winner took down the Preakness almost three weeks ago. He won that race on the lead which he was capable of doing (he won on the lead in his maiden win, the Risen Star, and the LeComte stakes) however as of late that was not his running style. In the Kentucky Derby he rated closer to the lead but just didn’t have the punch down the lane. Was that because it was muddy? That remains to be seen, but regardless he was impressive in the Preakness. Gary Stevens will have plenty of options with Oxbow; rating him close to the lead or letting him relax mid-pack. This horse seems to be peaking at the right time.
The last horse to lose the Derby, but win the Preakness and the Belmont, was Afleet Alex in 2005.

#9 – Revolutionary (3rd Kentucky Derby)
Being a huge Beatles fan, I can think of nine reasons to bet on this horse (see: Revolution No. 9). Other than that, Revolutionary really impressed me in the Kentucky Derby coming all the way back from 18th place to get up for 3rd on the very muddy track. This horse now makes his third start off the layoff for WinStar Farm and he should relish the extra distance. We’ll see if he can fight through traffic to make a difference at the end. Note that jockey Javier Castellano returns to the irons for trainer Todd Pletcher.

#14 – Golden Soul (2nd Kentucky Derby)
Here’s a horse that most definitely outran his odds in the Kentucky Derby; finishing second at a whopping 34-1! Bred for the distance, I’m thinking that Golden Soul will love the long ride around the “big sandy.” Still, this horse has only won one race and though I’m really looking close at the distance angle, he will need to run another big race to take home the Belmont. Trainer Dallas Stewart retains jockey Robby Albarado in the saddle, so that’s a good sign.

Worth A Look:

Who knows what would have happened if this horse had a clean start in the Wood Memorial. I can recall the starter falling out of the gate while still practically holding onto this horse (he was named a non-starter). After an absolutely dominating performance in a sloppy Peter Pan (won by over 13 lengths) this horse seems to be in a good spot to give the Belmont a go. Likely to be one of the only few to flash any speed, can this horse win wire to wire? He set some mighty fast fractions in the Peter Pan and will need to slow it down a bit to take this one. We only have to go back to 2008 to find the last wire to wire Belmont winner in Da’Tara.

#3 – Overanalyze (11th Kentucky Derby)
It was pretty evident that this horse didn’t care for the mud. And if the weather forecast comes true, the track should be pretty wet for Saturday afternoon (expecting 1-2 inches Friday night as of this writing). However if we were to draw a line through the muddy Derby, Overanalyze might be worth a look here in the Belmont. Another son of Dixie Union won this very race last year.

#11 – Vyjack (18th Kentucky Derby)
Here’s another horse that didn’t seem to like the mud very much either, finishing a disappointing 18th in the Kentucky Derby. Still, drawing a line through that race, this horse has won four out of five of those other races and seems to like to run in New York. Perhaps this distance is too much for him?

Rosie Napravnik gets the mount on the only filly in the race becoming the first woman to ride in each of the three triple crown races in one season. This four-time winner takes a step up to run against the boys after a third place finish in the Kentucky Oaks back on May 3rd. I’m wondering if the Oaks distance was a bit too much for her, but you can understand why Todd Pletcher and Mike Repole want to give this a shot.

Head Scratchers:

#1 – Frac Daddy – Has only won one race, and that was last year.
#4 – Giant Finish – Outmatched here
#6 – Incognito – Miler going long, can he get the distance?
#8 – Midnight Taboo – Has a lot to prove here
#10 – Will Take Charge – Not the same horse
#12 – Palace Malice – Too slow for this field

Well there you have it, my “dark” analysis of this year’s Belmont! Who do you like?


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Older Comments about Belmont Stakes 2013 - A Battle of Heavyweights...

Yes, one turn mile type thing
1 1/16 at Belmont, no?
Hopefully Itsmyluckyday is pointing to the Dwyer
It appears Palace Malice is running in the Jim Dandy/Travers, but maybe we'lll see them square off (w/ Oxbow and Orb) in the Travers.
Mylute vs. Palace Malice possibly
What do you mean?
You're on in the Haskell, rafi
You're on in the Haskell, rafi
I think Palace Malice is HRN's horse! Goblin, Dreesage, Me, Derek, Sullivan and others picked him!! So glad the horse I've loved since the beginning is growing a following.
I don't know about great, Overanalyze didn't run too well. If I have learned anything from the Triple Crown, those late closing longshots who just manage to hit the board like Golden Soul, Nehro, Went The Day Well, and Ice Box are not good bets for the remaining Triple Crown races
Great call Sullivan!!! Yeah Dark Horse... Palace Malice too slow... ugh.
Palace Malice and Overanalyze
Oxbow and Overanalyze
AndyScoggin picks Revolutionary and ZATT takes Overanalyze. I hope the rain doesn't mess up the weekend!
nice piece, We all think differently, and i feel Vyjack may be a throw out....TPD.
I think a box including Orb, Oxbow, Revolutionary, and Golden Soul is in order.
Great run down by Dark Horse, I love the 'impressive' secret link you can find all the Graded Stakes winners entered in the Belmont by using the search box as well as years past. We love Orb and Oxbow but thinking if WTC can beat Oxbow with Jon Court aboard, he can beat him again! Love Revolutionary (#9!!) and Freedom Child, lol, whew, that shoots by bankroll!! Bon Chance and Godspeed to all runners and riders.

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 (Whoa - it's me - the DARK HORSE)
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog!  I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old.  Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!!  I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!).  I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
While finishing school in Chicago, I spent every possible moment at Arlington Park with my dad.  We took the time to develop computer programs (on the ever popular Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS) to try to find patterns and handicap races more accurately.  My dad taught me a lot about handicapping races, paying particular attention to class moves!

Since then, I have become more involved with horse racing each passing year through a variety of different media-based roles. Once deemed the "second best racing ambassador in Chicago" (hey I've been called worse), 
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