Race of the Week 2017

2013 Belmont Stakes - This Could Be Big

Although there will not be a Triple Crown bid on the line in the 2013 Belmont Stakes, the excitement that surrounds the final jewel this year is still very big.


The first big thing is the size of the field in the Belmont Stakes. Not since 14 horses broke from the starting gate in 1996 have we seen one this big. This year might not end in such spectacular fashion but the 2013 Triple Crown may also conclude on a very high note.


In comparison to ’96 it will be hard to overcome the accomplishment that occurred that day. D. Wayne Lukas scored his third consecutive Belmont with Editor’s Note and it also became his 7th Triple Crown victory in 8 attempts. Wow, what a run that was.  


What caught my attention besides the size of the field are a few other very noticeable elements. The first is that D. Wayne Lukas and his veteran rider Gary Stevens are back for more. They proved in the 2013 Preakness Stakes that the days of old are still present and that experience between them is an undeniable advantage.


But, the competition isn’t ready to give them the lead again or another win. I really like this group of fourteen Belmont Stakes starters. What I also like is that all of them will be racing for more than just the honor of becoming the Belmont Stakes champion. Subsequently, the race to be the best 3-yr-old may just be getting started.


As asked by ZATT; Who is the best three-year old this year?


Great question. But, until we see what happens this weekend that query remains open for debate. What’s even more interesting about that particular conversation is that Saturday might not provide us with a firm answers either. If Orb or Oxbow fails to capture two of the three Triple Crown races it will lead to something else that I consider very big.


The post Triple Crown races for 3-yr-olds heats up over the summer in late July. That is when the gears shift to Saratoga for the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 27 followed by the G1 Haskell Invitational from Monmouth Park the very next day. These two races are a big deal every year. There’s no question about it but that isn’t to say that a little extra buzz won’t strengthen its demand. If a top 3-yr-old hasn’t been designated as the clear cut front runner by that time then these summer stakes races just got more interesting.


But, these two races are just the set up for the big one, the race that most fans, horsemen, owners, trainers and jockeys want the most, the “Mid-Summer Derby”. If the Travers Stakes is where the competition to become the top three-year-old male leads us to then we will be in for an ever bigger weekend then it already is. Now that would be exciting. As it is every year the Breeders’ Cup will be everyone’s final statement. Hopefully, when that weekend arrives we will look back on the Belmont Stakes and remember it as one where the pursuit for the Eclipse Award really took off.


So the field is big and the stakes are high. Then what else is there about the Belmont Stakes that can make it as big as I’m suggesting? I don’t know if anyone else is as excited about Unlimited Budget taking on the boys as I am but if she comes out ahead it will be BIG.


Because a Filly has emerged victorious in the Belmont Stakes before I’m not going to exaggerate the accomplishment to gigantic proportions. However, it is rare and it will be special. In 2007, Rags to Riches became only the third filly to ever win the Belmont Stakes. Because it hadn’t been done since a horse named Tanya scored in 1905 her achievement was met with a resounding applause. Even though the long drought finally ended there’s something else about Unlimited Budget winning that captures my attention.


Todd Pletcher was the trainer for Rags to Riches and is also the handler for Unlimited Budget. As we all know Pletcher is at the head of the class in the sport and if he can pull it off again it may lead to more trainers entering their fillies in races versus the colts on a regular basis. More importantly, it might encourage our trainers to put them up to the task at a much earlier stage in the 3-yr-old campaign.


Unfortunately, we did not see a filly face the colts in the 2013 Kentucky Derby. One of the underlying rules to the new Kentucky Derby qualification system is that girls must face the boys in order to earn the necessary points. None of the connections for the Kentucky Oaks starters really tested those waters this past prep season. But, what does that say about the Kentucky Derby prep season in 2014? Or how about this; when we will see the next filly try and beat the male 3-yr-olds on the first Saturday in May.


Surely, it will be soon and after all of our trainers are more comfortable with the new qualification system. But, what I’m proposing is that if Unlimited Budget beats them this weekend then the day we see a filly enter a major Kentucky Derby prep race will be much sooner. You may consider this point to be a stretch but she still has the ability to make a very convincing argument and keep things moving in the right direction.


So, despite the absence of the excitement that comes with a horse heading into the weekend on the verge of changing history, Belmont Park is still a fabulous place to be on Saturday. In place of the thrill that a possible Triple Crown brings we have some other story lines that are still pretty big. We have the Orb vs. Oxbow rubber match, 12 other horses racing to make a statement of their own and a filly trying to beat the boys. Finally, since we have 14 horses racing you can assume the odds will be fluctuating and presenting us with a lot of very BIG possibilities and pay outs.


All of these plus many more is what makes the final leg of the Triple Crown so exciting in 2013. Good luck to all of the Belmont Stakes starters and their connections. And to the fans, let's pick some winners. 


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Older Comments about 2013 Belmont Stakes - This Could Be Big...

overanalyze overorb
My Superfecta.....Revolutionary- Orb -Golden Soul - Unlimited budget
I like still Vyjack as a good Longshot with Orb to win or show up his real self with a strong performance the mile and a half is tough
it is very unlikely that Unlimited Budget will beat the boys, simple because she has'nt got that kind of talent, she may come in the place, but i doubt also, i figure it that Freedom Child, or Over Analyze or may be Vyzack (because his recent workouts are fabulas)so the Freedom Child!
if it is dry...overanalyze, MP, Unlimited, Incognito might have something to say...
what if it's dry
I'm seeing this as a race between Revolutionary and Orb. Love to see Vyjack in old form to get a piece of the board and I think Freedom Child has the potential to hold on for a little something too.

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