The Belmont Stakes is already the most unpredictable of all the three major horse races that comprise the Triple Crown, but Oxbow's victory at the 2013 Preakness Stakes has turned this upcoming race into must-see TV.
Oxbow won the Preakness in wire-to-wire fashion, busting out with an early lead off an incredible start and never looking back.
Pure sprinters Goldencents and Govenor Charlie couldn't keep up with Oxbow's torrid pace and ended up falling to the back of the pack to finish in fifth and eighth place, respectively.
Itsmyluckyday finished the race in second place, while rising star Rosie Napravnik and Mylute finished the race in third place.
Here's a look at the results from the Preakness, courtesy of Bovada:
|1||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||6|
|2||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr.||9|
|3||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||5|
|4||Orb||Joel Rosario||Claude McGaughey||1|
|5||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||2|
|6||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Albert M. Stall Jr.||4|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||7|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||8|
|9||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux||D. Wayne Lukas||3|
According to Yahoo! Sports, Oxbow's wire-to-wire victory was the first at the Preakness in 31 years:
Yahoo Sports @YahooSports
And Oxbow becomes the first wire-to-wire winner at the #Preakness in 31 years! #Orb disappointingly finishes out of the money.5/18/2013, 10:26:05 PM
Orb's win at the Kentucky Derby was just as impressive, however.
In muddy conditions that made endurance count more than ever, Orb was able to mount an incredible home-stretch, come-from-behind sprint that left the rest of the horses looking slow.
Both races were run on tracks roughly the same length:
- Kentucky Derby: One-and-a-quarter miles—10 furlongs.
- Preakness Stakes: One-and-three-sixteenths miles—9.5 furlongs.
The race at Belmont Park to determine the winner of the Belmont Stakes is a full quarter-mile longer than the Derby—12 furlongs.
These extra two furlongs are what makes the Belmont such an unpredictable race. Even in both shorter races, some of the top horses in the world lost stamina down the home stretch. Winning at Belmont requires perfect physical conditioning and a bit of luck.
There are many horses that could race in 2013 capable of winning this year's Belmont.
Derby second-place finisher Revolutionary will likely run, as will third-place finisher Golden Soul. Overanalyze and Palace Malice are also both capable of winning the race after skipping out on the Preakness.
Oxbow, Orb, Itsmyluckyday and Mylute could win the race, too.
Some people may think that Orb's failure at the Preakness makes the race at Belmont somehow "less than." The reality of the situation, however, is that the unpredictable nature of the field will make the race even more compelling.
The length of the race and incredible quality of competition makes it any horse's race to win, and that makes it all the more exciting to watch.
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