Belmont Stakes 2013: Key Storylines Entering Final Leg of Triple Crown

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIMay 20, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: Jockey's Robby Albarado (L) and Rosie Napravnik (R) walk into the paddock before the start of the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

With the 2013 Belmont Stakes is just under three weeks away, the world is raging in anticipation for the final leg of the Triple Crown. While Orb's attempt to win the trinity fell short, the intrigue is still present at Belmont Park.

It's all about the storylines in Elmont, New York.

The hunt for the Triple Crown may be the focus of every horse racing season, but that doesn't eliminate the value of every race. In fact, these races are still more prestigious than most events in the world of sports.

Even if the financial implications are somewhat damaged.

Who would've thought so much could ride on one horse?

Fortunately for those searching for a reason to watch this race, there is a fair blend of history and intrigue to garner your attention. From female riders chasing glory to horses looking for a two-peat, we have it all.

You know, minus the Triple Crown.


Rosie Napravnik Chases History

In 1993, Julie Krone became the first female jockey to ever win a Triple Crown race. Riding aboard Colonial Affair, Krone overcame the heavy 13-1 odds to shock the world and win big.

It just so happens that Krone won the Belmont Stakes.

Twenty years later, Rosie Napravnik has the opportunity to join Krone in the record books by winning that very race. Riding aboard Mylute, Napravnik has already experienced significant success, coming in third at the Preakness Stakes.

The time has never been better for the 25-year-old raises the bar and wins a Triple Crown race.

Napravnik is certainly familiar with the area, as she hails from Morristown, New Jersey. For those unfamiliar with the territory, Morristown is just over an hour away from Elmont, New York.

The area in which the Belmont Stakes will be held.

With the hometown advantage, per say, Napravnik is certain to have the crowd in her favor. With history on the horizon, she's also bound to face the greatest pressure of her young career.

If anyone can do it, however, it's one of the fastest rising jockeys in the world—watch out for Napravnik and Mylute.


Orb, Oxbow Pursue Win No. 2

Entering the 2013 Belmont Stakes, there is a sense of disappointment that no horse will be in the running for the Triple Crown. With that being said, two horses can still compete for the right to own two Triple Crown victories in one season.

A less glamorous, but still impressive feat.

Orb is the first of the notable contenders, as he won the Kentucky Derby behind the guidance of trainer Claude R. McGaughey and jockey Joel Rosario. Orb was the perceived favorite at the Preakness Stakes, but drew the rail.

A position that no horse has won from since Tabasco Cat in 1994.

The other horse is Oxbow, who shocked the world by winning the Preakness Stakes. Oxbow is led by a decorated crew in jockey Gary Stevens and trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Those two men have combined for seven titles at the Belmont Stakes, including the event they won together in 1995.

If either horse wins the Belmont Stakes, it will become the second horse in as many years to achieve the feat. More importantly, it will become the third horse to do so since 2006.

A surprisingly low number based off years past.


Three Separate Winners

From 1994 to 2005, there were just two seasons in which two seasons in which three different horses won the Triple Crown races. In recent years, however, we've seen a complete change in how these horses perform.

Since 2006, just two horses have won at least two Triple Crown races

That's five of seven seasons without a horse winning multiple Triple Crown events, for those keeping track. Assuming Orb and Oxbow come up short, this season could lead to six out of eight years without a two-race winner.

Something unheard of in the horse racing world.

Judging by the way this year's events have gone, it's fair to bet on the field. Orb finished fourth at the Preakness Stakes after winning the Kentucky Derby, while Oxbow was sixth in Lexington.

This could be yet another superstar-less year in horse racing.