In what can be described as nothing short of a stunning display of dominance, Oxbow led from start to finish en route to a victory at the 2013 Preakness Stakes. With the win, Orb's pursuit of the Triple Crown was crushed and Oxbow entered his name into the hat of favorites for the Belmont Stakes.
The question is, how will the Triple Crown's final leg play out?
Orb entered the race as the odds-on favorite, but it was Oxbow that was led by multi-time Preakness Stakes winners in jockey Gary Stevens and trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Stevens took home his third career Preakness Stakes crown, while Lukas corralled his sixth.
With both men experiencing success at the Belmont Stakes, another win could be on the horizon.
Lukas says Oxbow owner "very agressive" so Belmont seems likely.— KY Derby Contenders (@DerbyContenders) May 18, 2013
Just don't sell the field short before the action even begins; some horses that ran well in the Kentucky Derby but skipped the Preakness might contend as well.
Oxbow enters the race in fierce competition with Orb to own the label of the favorite, as both have won major races this season. With Oxbow taking the Preakness Stakes and Orb earning the Kentucky Derby nod, the top two contenders at the Belmont Stakes could be the previous winners.
The question is, how will it all play out when it's all said and done?
Date: Saturday, June 8
Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
Venue: Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Orb may have finished in fourth at the 2013 Preakness Stakes, but he was starting off of the rail in the No. 1 post. Not only is that unfavorable position, but it's a sign of things to come—no horse has won the event from the rail since 1994.
Even still, Orb finished in strong position considering the way he came out of the gates.
With this in mind, there's no reason to believe that Joel Rosario will be unable to ride Orb to yet another victory. After all, legendary trainer Claude R. "Shug" McGaughey has won at this event before, taking home the 1989 Belmont Stakes title.
The question here is simple—what post position will Orb draw?
If Orb starts in favorable position, there's a powerful possibility that he walks away with the victory. With that being said, confidence and focus is a key here, and Orb cannot be thrilled with the way the Preakness turned out.
Even still, this horse will be in it until the bitter end.
Fresh off of a win at the Preakness Stakes, it's not hard to see why Oxbow will be a favorite at the 2013 Belmont Stakes. It certainly doesn't hurt that Oxbow has the supporting cast to lead a charge toward a victory.
Both jockey Gary Stevens and trainer D. Wayne Lukas have each won the event before.
Stevens enters this race having won the Belmont Stakes in 1995, 1998 and 2001. For what it's worth, the 1995 title came alongside none other than Lukas.
The two helped lead Thunder Gulch to the crown.
Individually, Lukas has won the Belmont Stakes on four separate occasions. He won the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes consecutively in 1994 and 1995.
There's a high probability that Lukas' reign of terror continues in 2013 with Oxbow.
One of the most surprising finishes at the 2013 Preakness Stakes was held by Mylute. Starting out of the No. 5 post, Mylute ended up finishing third and surprising the field by finishing ahead of Orb by a relatively wide margin.
Expect history to be made at the Belmont Stakes.
Mylute is guided by jockey Rosie Napravnik, a 25-year-old from Morristown, N.J. Not only is she one of the fastest-rising jockeys in the world, but she's on pace to reach the height of legends with a win at Belmont.
Napravnik can become the first female jockey to win the Belmont Stakes since Julie Krone in 1993.
Napravnik and trainer Tom Amoss appear to have limitless potential together, which will shine through in Elmont, New York. Together, they could join the ranks of history and place Napravnik in a class of her own in terms of modern riders.
Bank on it.