With the third and final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown taking place at Belmont Park on Saturday, all eyes were on the all-important post-position draw on Wednesday. While post positions don't necessarily make or break a horse, they can definitely play a factor in a field as big as this one.
There wasn't much attention paid to the Preakness post draw as a mere nine horses ran in that race, but due to a mix of Kentucky Derby, Preakness and brand new competition, the Belmont field is jam packed with 14 horses, and that should make for an interesting race.
Wednesday's post draw didn't knock any top contenders out of contention and it didn't automatically make any of the lower-level horses favorites. With that said, even the slightest edge can impact a race, so the post draw shouldn't be disregarded.
Here are the full post listings for all 14 horses, as well as historical post-position trends to keep in mind when placing your Belmont bets.
Where: Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
When: Saturday, June 8
Post Time: 6:20 p.m. ET
Purse: $1 million
|1||Frac Daddy||Alan Garcia ||Ken McPeek|
|2||Freedom Child ||Luis Saez ||Tom Albertrani|
|3||Overanalyze||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher|
|4||Giant Finish||Edgar Prado||Anthony Dutrow|
|5||Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey|
|6||Incognito||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Kiaran McLaughlin|
|7||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas|
|8||Midnight Taboo||Garrett Gomez||Todd Pletcher|
|9||Revolutionary||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher|
|10||Will Take Charge||Jon Court||D. Wayne Lukas|
|11||Vyjack||Julien Leparoux||Rudy Rodriguez|
|12||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher|
|13||Unlimited Budget||Rosie Napravnik||Todd Pletcher|
|14||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart|
Best Post Positions
Determining the best post positions for a race like the Belmont Stakes can be tricky as it has been in existence since 1867. Fewer horses used to run in the race back in its formative years, so it should come as no surprise that the No. 1 position has featured the most winners with 23. Things are much more spread out after that, though, as No. 3 has had 15 winners, No. 5 has had 14 winners and No. 7 has had 13 winners.
Based on a number of different factors, No. 7 has to be considered the ideal spot in this year's race. Not only is it right in the middle of the 14-horse field, but the No. 7 post has been fittingly lucky over the past several years. Three of the past six winners have started seventh, so both recent and historic success suggests that No. 7 is the perfect spot.
That bodes well for Oxbow as he is among the race's top contenders and will start from the No. 7 position to boot. Orb is also in a great spot at No. 5 as 14 winners have come from that spot. Many of the races top horses will break from advantageous positions, so that should make for an exciting race.
Worst Post Positions
Despite what the statistics say, the No. 1 position generally isn't a great place to be. That is especially true now as the fields in these races have swelled over the years. With 14 horses in the Belmont, Frac Daddy is in a tough spot as he will start from the extreme inside. He wasn't considered to be a contender to begin with, but starting No. 1 could really hamper his chances.
It's also interesting to note that no horse starting outside the No. 11 post has ever won the Belmont. That has a lot to do with that fact that there are often 11 or fewer horses in the race, but three horses will be starting outside of that slot in the form of Palace Malice, Unlimited Budget and Golden Soul.
All of those horses are interesting for one reason or another. Palace Malice set a blistering pace in the Kentucky Derby, and even though he ultimately fell off, he could be a wire-to-wire winner if he can get to the front. Unlimited Budget is the only filly in the race and will be ridden by female jockey Rosie Napravnik. Golden Soul was a surprise second-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, but he will be forced to break from the extreme outside.
After winning the Kentucky Derby, hopes were high for Orb heading into the Preakness Stakes. He ultimately disappointed as he finished fourth, but he has a golden opportunity to bounce back at the Belmont Stakes. Trainer Shug McGaughey couldn't have asked for a much better starting position either.
Orb will start No. 5 and is also the morning-line favorite at 3-1, according to Esther Marr of Blood-Horse.
As previously mentioned, No. 5 has been a fruitful position at Belmont Park over the years, so there isn't much cause for concern. Orb had to starting No. 1 in the Preakness, and while it probably wouldn't be fair to blame his poor run solely on the post position, it probably played a role. Now there will be no excuses if Orb struggles in the Belmont Stakes.
Oxbow shocked many horse racing fans when he upset Orb and picked up a wire-to-wire victory in the Preakness Stakes. Winning the Triple Crown isn't a possibility since Orb won the Kentucky Derby, however, winning two legs of the Triple Crown would be a major accomplishment. He came away with a tidy draw as he will start No. 7, according to Melissa Hoppert of the New York Times.
No. 7 has been a great spot to be in the Belmont in recent years, so D. Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens have to be pleased. Oxbow led the Preakness from start to finish, and if Stevens wants to get him to the front right away, he shouldn't have any problems doing so from No. 7.
The last thing that bettors want to see is a top contender getting stuck in an awful position. Luckily, that didn't happen to Oxbow or Orb on Wednesday. They appear to be on equal footing heading into the race, so the best horse will ultimately win.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter