Orb charged past the field with a remarkable stretch run to win the Kentucky Derby. Oxbow dashed any Triple Crown dreams with a convincing victory in the Preakness Stakes. Both horses, along with 12 others, are now prepared for the Belmont Stakes.
The final leg of the Triple Crown doesn't feature nearly as much buzz as if Orb had won the Preakness. That said, the Belmont features an elite field of horses and should provide enough intrigue to finish the annual three-race showcase on a high note.
The biggest question mark is whether Orb or Oxbow will establish their dominance. If not, which other contender will end the heart of the horse racing season in the spotlight? Here's a look at the viewing information to find out the answers, followed by a race preview.
Where: Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
When: Saturday, June 8 at 6 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
2013 Belmont Stakes Field
|1||Frac Daddy||A. Garcia||K. McPeek||30-1|
|2||Freedom Child||L. Saez||T. Albertrani||8-1|
|3||Overanalyze ||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher||12-1|
|4||Giant Finish||E. Prado||A. Dutrow||30-1|
|5||Orb||J. Rosario||C. McGaughey III||3-1|
|6||Incognito||I. Ortiz Jr.||K. McLaughlin||20-1|
|7||Oxbow||G. Stevens||D.W. Lukas||5-1|
|8||Midnight Taboo||G. Gomez||T. Pletcher||30-1|
|9||Revolutionary||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher||9-2|
|10||Will Take Charge||J. Court||D.W. Lukas||20-1|
|11||Vyjack||J. Leparoux||R. Rodriguez||20-1|
|12||Palace Malice||M. Smith||T. Pletcher||15-1|
|13||Unlimited Budget||R. Napravnik||T. Pletcher||8-1|
|14||Golden Soul||R. Albarado||D. Stewart||10-1|
Post positions and morning-line odds are courtesy of the race's official site.
Jockey Joel Rosario has done an extraordinary job with Orb. In the Kentucky Derby, he avoided the unsustainable early pace and put the colt in perfect position to make the winning charge. It worked perfectly, and Orb looked like a Triple Crown contender.
Things didn't work out in the Preakness, though. Once again, Rosario had Orb within striking distance heading into the final turn, but the horse simply didn't gave the late kick necessary to replicate the result from Churchill Downs.
It adds a layer of unpredictability to the Belmont. When the field is getting ready to turn for home and Rosario asks Orb to go, it's impossible to know how he'll respond. He's the most talented horse in the field, but the added distance could pose a problem.
The same can be said for Oxbow. Any horse who completes all three legs of the Triple Crown is racing an extremely aggressive schedule. By the final couple furlongs of the mile-and-a-half journey, finding a second wind is crucial to success.
Oxbow will rely heavily on the veteran experience of Gary Stevens to put him in contention. It's already been a successful return to racing for the accomplished jockey. Winning the Belmont would be another feather in his cap.
One horse capable of challenging both of the winners is Revolutionary. He should be well-rested after skipping the Preakness. A third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and winning the Louisiana Derby illustrated what type of talent the horse has.
If Orb and Oxbow are at their best, he probably doesn't have the top-end speed to keep up with them for 12 furlongs. But if they suffer even a subtle drop-off in performance, he will be ready to pounce.
Don't be surprised if that's exactly what happens in the final Triple Crown race of 2013.