2013 Belmont Stakes: Plenty of Drama, even without a Triple Crown

May 27, 2013 10:25am

There may not be a Triple Crown on the line this year, but that does not mean that there will be a shortage of 2013 Belmont Stakes drama. As each day passes, it seems that a new story is added to the Test of the Champions.

The first and most notable is the rubber match that is likely to occur between Kentucky Derby winner Orb, and Preakness Champion Oxbow. Orb won the Kentucky Derby in his fifth consecutive win, giving his trainer Shug McGaughey his very first victory in America’s most famed race. In the Preakness, his luck took a turn for the worst, where he drew the one post, allowing his competition to box him, negating his late kick. Oxbow, on the other hand, had a positive change in luck, drawing well and the being gifted an uncontested lead, enabling him to slow the pace, and outkick all others to the wire.

In recent years, trainers opted to skip the Belmont after their horses only took one jewel of the Triple Crown, while losing the other. For example, 2007 Derby winner Street Sense was taken off the trail, after finishing a close second to Curlin in the Preakness. The year before, Preakness winner Bernardini skipped the race, leaving the Belmont without a Derby or Preakness winner to lead the parade. This year, it looks likely that the trainers of Orb and Oxbow will return in the Belmont, and relish the chance to face off, once again.
Another element of drama added to the Belmont is the addition of the filly Unlimited Budget. Before the Kentucky Oaks, where the daughter of Street Sense finished a game third, she was unbeaten in four previous starts. She is also owned by Mike Repole, who is eager win his first Belmont Stakes, after a narrow miss two years ago with Stay Thirsty. Along with her, the enthusiastic owner enters Arkansas Derby hero, Overanalyze. Should Repole win this year’s edition with Unlimited Budget, that would give trainer Todd Pletcher his third victory in a Triple Crown race, and his second with a filly. The last time that phenomenon occurred, Pletcher sent out Rags to Riches, the first filly to win the Belmont in 102 years, at the time.
The Belmont also marks the return of several other Derby runners, such as Palace Malice and Revolutionary. The former looks for redemption after his Derby debacle, cause by the addition of blinkers. With the blinkers off we can expect a much more relaxed Palace Malice, and hopefully the same one who showed such promise along the Derby trail, before the addition of blinkers.
Revolutionary was a troubled third in the Kentucky Derby, but still managed to closed like a freight train once he found the running room. He enters the Derby fresh, and ready to avenge his loss in the Derby. If he is still in good form and receives a clean trip, there is no reason to think he won’t be the one wearing the carnations once all is said and done.
As can be seen there is plenty of drama in the year’s Belmont Stakes to make up for the lack of a horse aiming for the Triple Crown. For the first time in a long time we will see the Belmont live up to its name, as the Test of the Champions. We will have a field full of drama, full of talent, full of horses ready to avenge or redeem themselves after recent losses. Despite lacking the drama of a potential Triple Crown winner, this should easily be one of the most anticipating and exciting Belmonts we have seen in a long, long time.


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Older Comments about 2013 Belmont Stakes: Plenty of Drama, even without a Triple Crown...

A week later...just a fond memory. 29 years ago.
Also dipak, research the Belmont. Come from behind horses rarely win. If a horse has a hope to win they better be within good striking distance within the last half mile. If not the chances of them making the lead are slim.
dipak, have you ever seen a race where the favorite was a short price and in a short field? Those are often some of the worst races, traffic wise, why? Because other jocks gun for the favorite. That happened here. That is not an excuse. If you watch the race unbiasedly you'll see he had little to no shot, not plenty of chances. Thank you for your input.
dipak, would you say Kauia Katie and Flat Out or bad horses are not good horses just because they couldn't overcome traffic issues they encountered because of either post position or being caught on the inside? They are still good horses, as are many who just get caught up in traffic and can't make up the ground when they get out. When Orb did get out he made a good run to go from 6th to 4th. If all great horses overcame everything they'd all be undefeated.
  • dipak1 · in Preakness Stakes there were only 9 horses and there was no traffic issues, that is an excuse to get way from blame game, Rosario had plenty opportunities to take Orb outside , but he did'nt , instead he was pace saving, that is not going to happen if the horse has a stamina power, same thing happened in 2011 ken.derby with Dialed In, if the horse can not able to take position in early stage, he has no hope to recover space, is it as simple as that.Orb was lucky that he won the derby on a wet track, if it was a dry track, i doubted very much that he won the derby, i watch many big races, similiar pattern those horse took , lost the game. Jazil came 4th from the last in the derby which won by Barbara, in the same year Jazil showed the world how to win the Belmont Stakes coming from behind, that was really a good stamina minded horse. so Mr. Dani Pugh , your logic is not as good as used to be, Remember 2013 Preakness fields were small, so there is no question of traffic jammed? it is just an excuse? · 2464 days ago
Code West and Oxbow!
This race probably contains more surprises than the other two combined....First time visit will be on the 8th and 9th..Hope to meet with Tom Durkin.
I usually hate the Belmont. Ive never had much luck on this race, infact lifetime im in the red when wagering. Also last year was the first year I was psyched up for this race and that quickly turned to frustration the day before the race. The new rules, the injury put a nasty taste in my mouth for the Belmont last year, a race that I already did not enjoy since 2005. This year does appear to be more exciting. Great article.
This does look like a good Belmont, I think the reason both the Derby winner and the Preakness winner are going to run is that both are trained buy old school trainers who are not afraid to run their horses. I am hoping Orb will bounce back, I still think he is the best horse of this crop. By the way after watching the Met Mile, I believe we are seeing the effect of all the early retirements of the top 3 year olds last year. Compare the field for last years Met Mile with top 4 year olds Caleb's Posse and Shackleford and this years group. It is too bad that some of the faster 3 year olds from last year like Hansen and Bodemeister are retired and not in the Met Mile. It is starting to look like a weak group of older male main track horses.
mister pippit, had Smith attempted to rein in Palace Malice more than he did, he would have run the risk of injuring him over that sloppy going because PM obviously was not going to go quietly.
i am not too much interested in Belmont Stakes after Orb ruined me in the Preakness, but i have a great appreciation of Oxbow because i should have notice his run in the derby as he was on the lead after Palace Malice, but due to sloppy ground he did'nt achieve to stay in the lead and end up in 6th place, that was an indication that he is totally fit and son of Awesome Again, very strong pedigree, can do the job in next meeting in a good ground, i feel that Belmont Stakes is waiting for him, in the Preakness he took very cnsiderable lead and i believe that he can hold that lead in belmont Stakes, on the otherside ORB proved that in the Preakness , he is not competative in good ground although he beat Violence and Itsmyluckyday in the good going, but as he failed to win the Preakness against OXBOW, no excuses is a valid ground for him, a good horse regardless of post position will win the contest?
I'm sure he appreciated it
And, in alphabetical order. :) Just got back from the weekend in God's country (Arkansas). Brushed about two pounds of winter fur off of Limpy.
There it is sister!!!! :)
I was waiting for your Oxbow/WTC combo;)
Oxbow/Will Take Charge dead heat.
I'm rooting for Palace Malice. Todd may not have much luck in the Derby, but he could very well get his second Belmont win.
The MALICE is sitting on a big one. I wish Mike Smith wasn't sitting on him. In the Derby the blinkers did him in but he could have tried harder to rein him in.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college, she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at Virginia Intermont College and then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010, Laura began writing for Horse Racing Nation and has also contributed to Lady and the Track, TwinSpires and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter.

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