The Belmont Stakes presents the toughest challenge for horse and rider of all the three Triple Crown races. The mile-and-a-half race is known as "The Test of Champions," and the grueling length will give fresh horses an edge over those that have raced more recently.
There are some excellent new shooters coming into the Belmont.
These horses ran at the Kentucky Derby but were held out of the Preakness Stakes a few weeks ago. The extra rest they received during the past month could potentially give them an edge over Oxbow and Orb, horses that ran in both Triple Crown races leading up to the Belmont.
Here are the new shooters with the best chance to win the "Run for the Carnations."
Current Belmont Stakes Field
|Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey||3-1|
|Revolutionary||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||5-1|
|Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||6-1|
|Freedom Child||Luis Saez||Tom Albertrani||8-1|
|Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||10-1|
|Unlimited Budget||N/A||Todd Pletcher||10-1|
|Overanalyze||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||15-1|
|Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher||15-1|
|Code West||N/A||Bob Baffert||20-1|
|Will Take Charge||Jon Court||D. Wayne Lukas||20-1|
|Giant Finish||Edgar Prado||Anthony Dutrow||30-1|
|Incognito||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Kiaran McLaughlin||30-1|
|Midnight Taboo||N/A||Todd Pletcher||30-1|
|Always in a Tiz||David Cohen||Dominick Schettino||50-1|
*Field and odds courtesy of Daily Racing Form
After a third-place finish at the Derby earlier this year, it was somewhat of a shock when trainer Todd Pletcher kept Revolutionary from running at the Preakness. This horse ran a brilliant race, and if not for the muddy conditions at Churchill Downs and Orb's late charge, Revolutionary had as good a chance to win as any other horse.
One big change to consider is that Revolutionary won't be ridden by Calvin Borel, who had him at the Derby. Instead, according to WinStar Farm, jockey Javier Castellano will have the honors at the Belmont:
We're excited that Javier Castellano will be aboard Revolutionary in the Belmont. There aren't many jockeys who... http://t.co/7keQ1VoGBO— WinStar Farm (@WinStarFarm) May 23, 2013
While Castellano isn't as big a name as Borel, he and Revolutionary have some history together and won a couple of races earlier in the year.
Blessed with stamina from dam Runup the Colors and raw speed from sire War Pass, Revolutionary has the pedigree to do well at the Belmont Stakes. This upcoming race will favor big, strong horses, and given Revolutionary's fresh legs, he'll certainly be one of the heavy betting favorites.
A strong start at the Derby was negated by the wet track. Palace Malice got off to a roaring start, leading the pack at Churchill Downs. Unfortunately, the muddy conditions weren't suited to a wire-to-wire victory, and in the end Palace Malice finished in 12th place.
That doesn't mean this horse will finish in the back of the pack at the Belmont Stakes, however, as trainer Pletcher has been pleased with this horse's work in training leading up to this race.
With fresh legs, Palace Malice has been running extremely fast of late, per HRTV:
"Haven't had too many horses gallop-out like he did," Pletcher said of Palace Malice's strong gallop-out after Monday's work for Belmont.— HRTV (@HRTVinsider) May 30, 2013
Palace Malice isn't likely to receive good odds heading into the Belmont, as this horse hasn't won since its Maiden Special Weight race back in 2012. That said, Palace Malice has the speed to make a hard charge to the finish line, and long shots winning big races isn't something new in the sport of horse racing.
Heading into the Derby, Golden Soul wasn't expected to be a factor and received long-shot odds.
Like Oxbow at the Preakness, nobody expected Golden Soul to be a factor in the first leg of the Triple Crown. But this horse shocked the field with a second-place finish behind Orb on the muddy track at Churchill Downs.
Endurance and speed were on full display, and given the way Golden Soul started coming on even stronger in the last furlong, it shouldn't shock anyone if this horse puts on a show on the long track at Belmont.
According to Mike Welsch of Daily Racing Form, Golden Soul has been flying around the track during recent training sessions:
Golden Soul 5/8's 1:00.36 out 1:13.18 up 7/8's 1:28.30 splits 24.70 36.68 final 1/4 23.68 going ez thruout got a little hot but looked good.— Mike Welsch (@DRFWelsch) May 30, 2013
In addition to the horse's natural abilities, another reason Golden Soul should be considered a dangerous horse in the Belmont Stakes is that he'll be ridden by jockey Robby Albarado. Albarado has a Preakness victory under his belt and a number of Breeder's Cup wins, and he is a proven commodity.
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