Orb and Oxbow are both tentatively headed to New York for the 2013 Belmont Stakes in June, and a rematch between these two horses would make for an exiting race.
Both trainers—D. Wayne Lukas and Shug McGaughey—are targeting the final leg of the Triple Crown, even though the allure of winning the trio of races is now gone, according to Richard Rosenblatt of the AP (via the Boston Globe):
‘‘You know me,’’ Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said after Oxbow’s 1¾-length victory over Itsmyluckyday, with 3-5 favorite Orb finishing fourth. ‘‘I like to rack them up in the big events. So, I’ll probably go.’’
"The Belmont Stakes is on our radar screen,’’ McGaughey said Sunday after arriving back at Belmont Park... "We just all came to the conclusion that we should just watch Orb and see. I think everything is in good shape. We’d like to run."
If both horses do run, their presence in the field at Belmont would make an already unpredictable race all the more compelling.
Orb's fourth-place finish at the Preakness was only the first time he had lost since his first few Maiden Special Weight attempts. Up until that race, Orb had won five races in a row—including the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (Grade 1) and the Kentucky Derby.
Jockey Joel Rosario is still the hottest jockey in North America right now, and nobody will be counting him out atop Orb, should they race together at Belmont.
Interestingly enough, Oxbow had failed to finish in the money in the Arkansas Derby (Grade 1) and Kentucky Derby before shocking the field and winning in wire-to-wire fashion at the Preakness.
Which horse will win the 2013 Belmont Stakes?
But with Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens managing this horse and legendary trainer Lukas guiding the ship, so to speak, Oxbow was raring to go and proved more than capable of hanging with the best horses in the world.
These two horses are far from the only ones capable of winning the Belmont Stakes, however. Revolutionary, Golden Soul, Mylute, Itsmyluckyday and a host of others may be in the running.
The mile-and-a-half track at Belmont will be a tremendous test for every horse competing in this loaded field. Having both winners of the first two legs of the Triple Crown participating in the race will only add to the flavor and set up a race to remember.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78