The 2013 Belmont Stakes will be one exhilarating competition.
Although Oxbow spoiled Orb's chances to claim horse racing's first Triple Crown since 1978, that inadvertently created a rivalry. And with the two contenders alternating wins through the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Belmont simply provides a jolt of intensity.
Plus, the two are appearing to be on pace for the final leg. In an article by Ed Zieralski of the San Diego Union-Tribune on May 19, Orb's trainer Shug McGaughey and Oxbow's jockey Gary Stevens commented on the possibility of Belmont:
Look for McGaughey to challenge Oxbow in the Belmont Stakes on June 8.
“Yes, I’d like to go,” McGaughey said. “I’ll talk with the owners tomorrow, but we’ll see how he comes out of it. But we’d like to go home and see how he does there."
“Oxbow rated himself out there today,” Stevens said. “I was just a passenger. As for the Belmont, a horse that has this happy kind of pace, anyone wanting to tangle with him, all I can say is bring it on.”
The potential duel of Orb and Oxbow is straight up appealing. A grudge match if you will, that's decided by a tiebreaker between two of the best.
There are also other challengers that may be in the mix. Here is a full view of all possible contenders courtesy of HorseRacingNation.com.
Among the field listed are notable potential participants in Revolutionary, Overanalyze and Mylute. Of that group, Mylute was the only one to compete with Orb and Oxbow through the first two Triple Crown legs: He placed fifth in Kentucky (one spot ahead of Oxbow) and third at Pimlico (one spot in front of Orb).
If they all compete, who takes the Belmont Stakes?
So, Mylute and jockey Rosie Napravnik have proven to compete with the best two thus far. And a third opportunity only enhances Belmont's overall appeal.
Factoring in the race's length (12 furlongs) and it's the mightiest course of the Triple Crown. It's also quite the adjustment, because the Preakness Stakes features the shortest track of the legs.
In short, going from the quickest to the longest of events won't be an easy adaptation. How the jockeys orchestrate as the race unfolds will be intriguing to watch.
Mesh everything together from the top level of competition to what the Belmont track offers, and it's worth tuning in on June 8.