Although Wednesday's post-position draw for the Belmont Stakes didn't exactly knock any horses out of contention, there is no question that some are in a much better situation than others heading into Saturday's "Run for the Carnations."
The likes of Orb, Oxbow and Revolutionary will be among the betting-line favorites on Saturday and their advantageous post positions are part of the reason why. There are plenty of other contenders in the 14-horse field, but some of them weren't quite as lucky in terms of the post draw.
Along with a full listing of where every horse will start in the Belmont Stakes, here are three horses that have what it takes to win, but will ultimately be hindered by poor starting positions.
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|
While Orb was one of the few horses expected to truly contend in the Kentucky Derby, few prognosticators gave Golden Soul much of a chance. The Dallas Stewart-trained horse was an afterthought in the 19-horse field, but he managed to come on strong late and finish second behind Orb, so he figures to be a factor in the Belmont.
Golden Soul was held out of the Preakness, meaning he is well-rested and ready to make a run at the third leg of the Triple Crown. Golden Soul will certainly have his work cut out for him, though, as he will start on the extreme outside from post No. 14. Golden Soul has been galloping well leading up to the Belmont Stakes, according to Mike Welsch of Daily Racing Form, but that may mean little if he gets a bad trip on Saturday.
Golden Soul started near the inside at Churchill Downs as he broke from the No. 4 gate, so it remains to be seen if he can run his race from the outside. Golden Soul will be ridden by veteran jockey Robby Albarado, so he should have proper guidance, but that doesn't guarantee that the field will set up well for him. Golden Soul shouldn't be totally discounted because of his post draw, but he is definitely at a disadvantage.
A handful of horses that skipped both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness will try their luck in the Belmont. One of the most interesting horses in that category is Freedom Child. Bettors tend to be drawn to the newcomers because it isn't yet known how they'll react to the big stage against the best horses in the nation. Freedom Child appears to have all the tools necessary to contend, but he'll have to overcome a difficult starting position.
Outside of Orb, Oxbow and Revolutionary, Freedom Child has generated the most buzz prior to the Belmont; however, the No. 2 gate could really hamper him. Freedom Child is coming off a win in the Peter Pan Stakes, so he has some momentum, but he finished 10th against some heavy hitters in the Wood Memorial, which highlights his inconsistency. Freedom Child has proven capable of running in the mud, though, and trainer Tom Albertrani seems to be banking on that, according to Daily Racing Form.
According to Weather.com, there is a 50 percent chance of rain in Elmont, N.Y. on Saturday and a 90 percent chance of rain on Friday, so the track could be quite sloppy by the time the Belmont Stakes goes off. Even if Freedom Child is good in the mud, there's a decent chance that he could get boxed in and trapped near the rail. If that happens, Freedom Child won't be much of a factor.
The Triple Crown races have been devoid of fillies this year, but that is no longer the case as Unlimited Budget is set to vie for the Belmont Stakes. The fact that she is running against the boys certainly has observers interested, but she is more than just a novelty act. Unlimited Budget has won four of her five career races and is a definite threat to give the colts a run for their money on Saturday.
Many fillies have tried to win the Belmont, but few have succeeded. In fact only three have turned the trick, and Rags to Riches became the first to do so in over a century when she won back in 2007. Rags to Riches is the benchmark that the handlers of most fillies aspire to reach. Unlimited Budget has an opportunity to make history at Belmont Park, according to Joe Drape of the New York Times.
Unlimited Budget will also be ridden by Rosie Napravnik, so the all-female duo is sure to be a crowd favorite. Unfortunately, Unlimited Budget will start 13th, which isn't an ideal position. In fact, no horse starting outside No. 11 has ever won the Belmont Stakes. There is a first time for everything in horse racing, but with such a strong field already in place, Unlimited Budget could have some issues.
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